New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a fresh chargesheet against British national and alleged middleman Christian Michel James and two others in its ongoing money laundering probe in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal, officials said on Wednesday.
The central agency filed the chargesheet in Patiala House Court on June 10 against James along with his shell company Media Exim Pvt. Ltd. and its directors R.K. Nanda and J.B. Subramaniyam under section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Investigators said the agency found that out of the alleged kickbacks received by James, an amount of Rs 6.33 crore was routed to India through his shell company Media Exim from his Dubai-based company Global Services FZE.
James reportedly received around Rs 225 crore from AgustaWestland in kickbacks paid by the firm to execute the deal for 12 helicopters in its favour in the “guise of” transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country.
“R.K. Nanda and J.B. Subramaniyam were appointed as directors of Media Exim Pvt. Ltd who willingly and knowingly connived with Christian Michel James and helped him in acquiring various immovable and movable properties or assets in Delhi, which has already been attached by the Enforcement Directorate,” an ED official said.
The central agency charged James following his role as a middleman for this deal by Finmeccanica, a group firm of AgustaWestland.
The over 1,300-page prosecution complaint (ED chargesheet) has been placed before a special PMLA court here.
James and two other middlemen, Guido Ralph Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, have been named as accused in separate investigations conducted by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Both the agencies have also notified an Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN) against James after a city court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
An Italian court has revealed that James, a resident of London, was working as a consultant in India for AugustaWestland’s AWA101 helicopter deal. Investigators said James is currently staying in Dubai where he has been running his companies.
The ED official said this was the second chargesheet filed in the case by the agency.
The first chargesheet was filed by the agency in the case in November, 2014 against businessman Gautam Khaitan, his wife Ritu, Chandigarh-based firm Aeromatrix and two Italian middlemen, Gerosa and Haschke.
The chargesheet further disclosed that the three middlemen managed to make inroads into the Indian Air Force in order to influence and subvert the stand of the air force regarding reducing the service ceiling of the helicopters from 6,000-meters to 4,500 meters in 2005 after which AgustaWestland became eligible to supply a dozen helicopters for VVIP flying duties.
ED is probing the case in which Rs 360 crore were allegedly paid as kickbacks. The agency had earlier submitted that Khaitan was on the board of Chandigarh-based company Aeromatrix which was allegedly a front for the financial dealings in the chopper deal.
ED had lodged a case in July, 2014 against Khaitan, former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi and 19 others in the case to probe alleged kickbacks.