New Delhi, May 8: The officials at Enforcement Directorate who are probing the AgustaWestland deal are likely to question a senior journalist who was part of a trip to Italy, sponsored by chopper manufacturing company. While one journalist has been questioned last month, the ED plans to summon a journalist in this regard.
According to a report published by OneIndia website, a senior journalist attached with a Hindi news channel was part of the junket on whom a huge amount of Rs 28 lakh was allegedly spent.
In 2013, Finmeccanica, the Italian firm responsible for manufacturing VVIP AgustaWestland Choppers had invited a group of Indian journalists to Italy. Interestingly one of the journalist who unearthed the entire scam was also a part of the fully paid trip sponsored by Finmeccanica.
James Christian Michel, one of the middlemen was in charge of the media relations and his job was to ensure that positive news was published in the media regarding AgustaWestland deal. Read Also: (AgustaWestland scam: those linked to chopper deal got ‘good positions’, says Manohar Parrikar)
Michel, organised junkets for media personnel and officials as well. During the investigation the ED found that Michel had spent around Rs 4 crore on tickets which were meant for the junkets. The ED will probe the role of the journalists in this case and there could be a possibility that some journalist may have been bribed by the chopper manufacturing company.
The ED right now is looking out at the exact relationship of the journalist with Michel. The ED also wants to know the exact relationship between the journalist and AgustaWestland as the company has also invited his wife on a junket. It has been revealed that AgustaWestland had alone spend Rs 28 lakh on journalist and his family.
The AgustaWestland scam came into limelight after an Italian court, earlier in the month, observed that during the deal between the Indian government and Finmeccanica “corruption took place”. Sonia Gandhi, and Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel was also named in the 651-page court order.