Christian Michel had allegedly written to Giuseppe Orsi in another letter on July 29, 2009, that he would get the “party leader” to speak to the FM to “calm him down.”

by Raghav Ohri

New Delhi: Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the VVIP chopper deal, had urged AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi in 2009 to refrain from any publicity should the Italian company win the contract and claimed that hurdles in the way of clearing the file had been removed.

“We continue to request that no announcement or publicity is created by us. When this deal is signed, if the holding company makes an announcement, a complaint will be formally lodged with your ambassador. Please can Rome be asked to cooperate?” Michel wrote to Orsi in a dispatch on July 31, 2009.

Michel’s dispatch, exclusively accessed by ET, indicated that the alleged middleman was able to track the movement of the file pertaining to the deal. “It is confirmed that our file is with the PM’s office (PMO). Last night the Cabinet met to discuss economic affairs, not military. However, the PM stated that all ministers had been circulated the Cabinet note for the procurement of the ‘VI,’” the dispatch read.

Claiming to know what transpired at the Cabinet Committee for Security meeting, Michel wrote: “The PM requested that if any minister has any queries on the file, their questions are to be forwarded to the Cabinet Secretary immediately so that they may be addressed before the CCS (Cabinet Committee for Security) meeting takes place so that this file can be cleared without issue at the next CCS.” He added: “As we thought, the PM intends to sign the deal after Parliament ends on the 7th. We don’t like this delay, but it is wise.” Michel wrote that the CCS was scheduled to be held in the week starting August 10 and “we can expect to be called to finalise during the second half of the week commencing 18th August.”

He expressed relief that ‘obstacles’ in the way of securing the deal had been removed. “What the PM has done is clear any final obstacles to clearing the file. Any questions any minister may have will be answered. If the Finance Minister (FM) wishes to make trouble this process should otherwise outmanoeuvre him, and we can expect a smooth passage of our file through the CCS (we think the FM is okay now),” he wrote. He also urged Orsi to congratulate the then new defence secretary.

“Can a letter be sent to the new Defence Secretary congratulating him on taking over tomorrow?” Michel wrote.

ET first reported last month that Michel had allegedly written to Orsi in another letter on July 29, 2009, that he would get the “party leader” to speak to the FM to “calm him down.”