AgustaWestland: Michel hired advisor to 'influence' public opinion, chargesheet mentions 3 journalists

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 05 April 2019, 12:33 PM

A week before India votes for the crucial Lok Sabha Elections, a supplementary chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case has created ripples in the politically charged atmosphere. News Nation has the explosive details of the chargesheet, which talks about ‘AP’ and ‘Fam’. Sources say that alleged middlemen Christian Michel James has revealed during the investigation that 'AP' stands for Ahmed Patel and 'Fam' stands for Family. The code names 'AP' and 'FAM' were used in Christian Michel's diary which was seized by the ED. Now, fresh details have emerged that show how Michel tried to influence public opinion. According to the chargesheet, “in order to influence public opinion, Christian Michel James has used important personalities in the field of media ….”

The chargesheet mentions names of three journalists - Raju Santhanam, Shekar Gupta and Manu Pubby. According to the chargesheet, "as per Casana sheet, a payment of Euro 205860.40 was made to Ashwin Santhanam, son of Raju Santhanam in addition to booking an air ticket for him and his family for a total amount of Rs 26.50 lakh". It also reveals that Michel had hired a media advisor to get ‘his side of story’ to the public. Michel reportedly hired Guy Douglas to influence the media. “This fact is further corroborated by act of influence on Manu Pubby and Shekhar Gupta to tone down the article in Indian Express,” the chargsheet said. The media advisor hired was in touch with several journalists in India, Michel told the probe agency.

According to reports, Michel also acknowledged knowing 'Mrs Gandhi' and revealed that he was in touch with her and knew her since 1986-87. However, the chargesheet did not elaborate what was the context in which 'Mrs Gandhi' was named and what was her full name.

Earlier on December 29, 2018, the ED had told the Patiala House Court that Christian Michel named one 'Mrs Gandhi' during his interrogation.

First Published: Friday, April 05, 2019 07:18 AM
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