New Delhi, May 9: The pay offs in the AgustaWestland deal amounts to Rs 360 crore according to the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation. Out of the Rs 360 crore that was earmarked to bribe influential people, an amount of Rs 50 crore was set aside for the media alone.
While the Enforcement Directorate has learnt that an amount of Rs 28 lakh had been spent on a journalist and his wife, the ED is also looking into another transaction of Rs 5 crore that was paid off to one journalist in connection with the Rafale deal.
The ED is ascertaining whether this amount of Rs 5 crore was paid off to a journalist in cash or in the form of freebies.
Journalists in the dock
The ED is hot on the trail of the Rs 50 crore that was spent by James Christian Michel the middleman in charge of handling the media. Documents which have been accessed by the Enforcement Directorate suggest that a large chunk of the Rs 50 crore was spent on a media junket to Italy.
The ED says that not all those who went on the junket were part of this scam. However there are a few names we have with us who we suspect had ensured that the narrative in the news was in favour of AgustaWestland.
There is a journalist for whom Michel had earmarked Rs 28 lakh. This looked like a suspicious transaction since the money was spent on the wife of the journalist as well.
Another journalist has come under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate and this time it is in connection with the Rafale deal. The ED suspects that middlemen had paid off this journalist a sum of Rs 5 crore.
It may be recalled that senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Subramanian Swamy too had said that a journalist who was paid off Rs 5 crore in connection with the Rafale deal is under the lens of the Enforcement Directorate.