The Central Bureau of Investigation will now focus on the role of politicians and journalists in the AgustaWestland probe. A payment of Rs 50 crores made to several scribes and a much larger amount used to bribe politicians will be the focus of the probe, CBI officials say.
In this context, the CBI is looking at a note sent out by liaison head of AgustaWestland Peter Hulet, in which he suggests that middleman James Michel should target, (former) prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's political secretary, Ahmed Patel and the defence minister of that time Pranab Mukherjee.
The acronyms in the note:
Another note under consideration is the one written by Michel. There are references made to several persons, but the names are not clear. Acronyms such as POL, FAM and AP are being analysed by the CBI. An Italian court had said that these are references made to politicians. This needs to be probed further, a CBI officer informed requesting anonymity.
CBI officials are also looking at the case of Italian businessman Guido Haschke, who was convicted by a court in Italy for his role in bribing politicians in India to swing the chopper deal in their favour. While the conviction is one indication that Haschke had bribed politicians, the other is his own admission before the court while he sought a plea bargain to reduce his sentence.
He had admitted to his guilt in a bid to get his sentence reduced and this would be crucial to the probe the officer also said.
It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had on Tuesday sought a report from the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate on the role played by journalists in the AgustaWestland case. The petitioner had alleged that as per the notes of Michel, there was a Rs 50 crore payout to journalists. The CBI and ED would be probing this angle seriously and will submit a report to the Supreme Court soon.