The ED has told a special CBI court, among other things, as to how he killed the competition in the VVIP choppergate and helped AgustaWestland land the deal during Congress-led UPA rule with the active connivance of influential elements inside the government and the ruling party.

The ED told the court how the “illegal intervention” from alleged middleman Christian Michel James had “led to the elimination of Russians on technical grounds” while Sikorsky’s bid was kept alive to give the entire process a modicum of legality and legitimacy.

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The ED said that technical evaluation was so “manipulated” that it led to the elimination of the Russian bid, but “includes Sikorsky even though it was not technically qualified”.

The investigative agency also pointed that the inclusion of Sikorsky despite no technical qualification as “was necessary just to avoid a single vendor situation and to ensure that AgustaWestland chopper alone clears the FET.”

“The conclusion is corroborated with some of the dispatches sent on the instructions of Christian Michel James to Guido Haschke, Orsi and other persons further prove the above points,” the ED told court, referring to the dispatches of Michel that were seized.

The ED cited a dispatch, dated August 10, 2008.

“This programme is passing each of its critical points. All we can say is that we have made it so far. 1) Presentation of offer saw the Russians being rejected through a technicality, which was no accident. 2) Paper evaluation saw two of us going through which is the minimum by law to hold a competition. 3) Flight trials we have succeeded in distancing ourselves from the competition….”

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The ED has claimed that Michel and Guido Haschke with his associate Carlo Gerosa — through their respective chains — had paid Euro 70 million to officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) defence officials, bureaucrats, media persons and political leaders of the “ruling party” “in lieu of their decision influencing the deal of purchase of helicopter in favour of AgustaWestland.