Recently Christian James Michel, a british middleman who is wanted in the AugustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal bribery case, was sent back from Dubai to India. A UAE court cleared his extradition last month. In this context let’s know a little about the timeline of AugustaWestland Bribery Case.
1. August 1999: The Indian Air Force, which is responsible for carrying out VVIP communication duties, proposes replacement of Mi-8 helicopters due to operational constraints.
2. March 2002: A request for proposals issued.
3. November 2003: Concerned were raised on single vendor situation in a meeting held by Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s PMO. Recommendations were made to change some requirements to accommodates more vendors.
4. March 2005: IAF changes crucial requirements for the chopper acquisition.
5. September 2006: After consultation with Manmohan Singh’s PMO, tender was issued to 10 vendors. REquirement of choppers was revised upwards from 8 to 12.
6. February 2010: Ministry of Defence concludes contract for supply of 12 VVIP helicopters with AugustaWestland.
7. February 2013: Italian police arrest Gluseppe Orsi, CEO of Finmeccanica, parent company of AugustaWestland, as part f bribery probe into the deal.
MOD initiate action for cancellation of contract and puts hold payments to company. Investgation handed over to CBI.
CBI registers a preliminary inquiry against 11 people, including former IAF chief SP thyagi and four companies.
8. March 2013: CBI registers FIR against Tyagi and 12 others for alleged criminal conspiracy and cheating in the chopper deal.
9. January 2014: The Indian Government terminates the agreement on the ground of breach of the Pre-contract integrity pact and agreement by AugustaWestland.
10. September 2014: Enforcement Directorate arrests businessman Gautam Khaitan on allegations of kickbacks in the deal.
11. October 2014: An Italian court acquits former chairman of AugustaWestland, Orsi, and former AugustaWestland head Bruno Spagnolini, Sentenced to a two-year jail term on a false accounting charge.
12. April 7 2016: Orsi sentenced to 4.5 years in jail for false accounting and corruption by an Italian court. Bruno Spagnolini was handed a four year jail term.
13. April 27, 2017: Christian James Michel, the middleman in the deal, says he is willing to come to India to face the authorities.
14. May 2, 2016: CBI begins grilling former Indian Air force Chief Marshall SP Tyagi over his alleged links with middleman.
15. December 9, 2016: SP Tyagi his cousin Sanjiv alias Julie Tyagi, and lawyer Gautam Khaitan arrested by the CBI on corruption charges.
AgustaWestland (branded as Leonardo Helicopters since January 2016) was a helicopter design and manufacturing company. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leonardo S.p.A. (previously Finmeccanica). It was formed in July 2000 as an Anglo-Italian multinational company, when Finmeccanica and GKN merged their respective helicopter subsidiaries (Agusta and Westland Helicopters) to form AgustaWestland, with each holding a 50% share. Finmeccanica acquired GKN’s stake in AgustaWestland in 2004.
Source: The New Indian Express