AgustaWestland probe to widen- ED studying nature of defence consultancy firms
New Delhi, May 10: The investigations being conducted in the AgustaWestland case may be broadened and several companies that deal with defence deals are likely to come under the scanner.
The Enforcement Directorate which is probing the money trail in the AgustaWestland case is also looking into other deals to find out if there were a common set of businessmen and middlemen.
The ED hopes to get answers from the Income Tax Department and the Reserve Bank of India in this regard. The papers from the IT department which had conducted a series of raids would hold the key and the ED has already sought information on the same.
Businessmen under the scanner:
The ED has been identifying companies and businessmen who deal with defence products. There are also a host of consultancy services that the ED has placed under the scanner. In several cases it is these consultancy services which assume the roles of middlemen, the ED says.
While these consultancy services are registered, the ED is seeking to know the role played them in the procurement of defence products and also high profile deals. In the AgustaWestland case it was found that middlemen had set up consultancy services which ultimately turned out to be a front to move and launder money.
When the Italian court had questioned the middlemen, they had said a fee was paid for consultancy. However investigations have shown a different picture.
It became clear that the likes of Guido Hascke and James Christian Michel had set up firms only with an intention of moving money. They also were in touch with several high profile personalities in India to ensure that the deal was swung in their favour.