AgustaWestland scam: ED tightens grip on NRI twins linked to Michel
NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate probing into Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper scam has tightened the noose around two NRIs linked to British arms dealer Christian Michel's company. According to sources, the ED conducted searches at the residence of Suraj Parkash Mehra, the father of NRI twins Saahil Parkash Mehra and Sonya Mehra.
Express had earlier reported that the NRI siblings were appointed directors of Beetle Nut Home Limited on February 15, 2010 just a week after the Indian government signed a contract with AgustaWestland on February 8, 2010.
The company was floated by key player in the VVIP Chopper deal Christian Michel in October, 2009 to park alleged bribe money. Annual return filed by the Beetle Nut Home Limited on October 17, 2011 shows both Sonya and Saahil, born on June 11, 1988, were allotted 15,000 shares each, while Michel's company Global Services, FZE owned the majority of the shares in the company.
Sources said Mehra was also questioned by Enforcement Directorate sleuths on his links with fugitive British arms dealer. The agencies find Mehra siblings entry into Beetle Nut intriguing, as the company was founded by Michel and controlled by Christine Spliid, alleged collaborator of arms dealer.
The evidence gathered by agency shows Mehra siblings travelling together on crucial juncture along with Christine Spliid in India at a time when middlemen and AgustaWestland officials are also camping in Delhi.
Christine and Sonya travelled to India in October, 2011 when AugustaWestland top brass Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini were also here. When the AgustaWestland scam first surfaced in February 2012 in Italy, both Christine and Sonya were in Dubai, perhaps to meet Michel whose base was in the emirate.
Just days before Beetle Nut Home Limited filed an application to dissolve the company with Registrar of Companies for England and Wales, Saahil and Sonya Mehra registered ‘Twin Holdings Limited’ on September 3, 2015.