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Electronic gadgets will provide vital information on VVIP deal

| PRAMOD KUMAR
Published : Aug 26, 2016, 1:45 am IST
Updated : Aug 26, 2016, 1:45 am IST

Outcome of the forensic scrutiny of electronic gadgets recently recovered by the Central probe agencies from the premises of the Indian contacts of Christen Michel James — prime suspect in the VVIP Ag

Outcome of the forensic scrutiny of electronic gadgets recently recovered by the Central probe agencies from the premises of the Indian contacts of Christen Michel James — prime suspect in the VVIP AgustaWestland copter deal — will spill the beans on the multi-crore scam. The probe agencies, sources said, will soon get forensic analysis report of the mobile phones, SIM cards, hard discs, pen drives and computers, recovered from the premises of Michel’s contacts in India.

Sources said, “Outcome of the forensic reports will be crucial for both agencies as the CBI is preparing to file its first chargesheet in the case.” The ED during searches on May 7 in Jalvayu Vihar area of Gurgaon recovered some incriminating documents, CDs, Blackberry phone and several other electronic gadgets. “All items were seized and mentioned in the Panchnama. Further investigations revealed that the SIM cards which were recovered were allegedly provided by Michel to his contact in India.”

Sources said that the information in certain hard discs had been deleted. “Efforts are being made to retrieve the deleted information through hard-disc imaging. Probe agencies are expected to get forensic reports of all seized electronic gadgets very soon.”

Investigations have revealed that British national Christian Michel, who used more than 10 overseas numbers to remain in touch with his contacts in India for regular updates while negotiations for the `3,600 crore deal for 10 VVIP copters with AgustaWestland were on with Indian officials, was also associated with a London-based educational trust which offered scholarships to Indian students studying abroad.

Both the ED and CBI have got an Interpol warrant issued against Michel. While the CBI has sought his arrest for “criminal conspiracy, cheating, illegal gratification and abuse of official position”, the ED wants him for charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Both the agencies have also got red corner notices issued against two other alleged middlemen wanted in this case — Italians Carlo Gerosa and Guido Ralph Haschke — after a special court here issued non-bailable warrants against them on their separate pleas late last year. Both agencies have booked former Indian Air Force Chief S.P. Tyagi and 12 others under charges of bribery, cheating, corruption and money laundering in the AugustaWestland helicopter deal case.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi