Journalists get bribes too in AgustaWestland chopper deal

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agustawestland-chopperA scribe is under Enforcement Directorate (ED) scanner for his dubious role in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam. Working with a Hindi news channel, the journalist and his wife had allegedly travelled to Italy. Their trip was reportedly sponsored AgustaWestland.

The ED officials allege that Rs 28 lakh was reportedly spent on this journalist and his family, according to a media report. The ED had interrogated the scribe last year and will summon him again. On 7 May, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy had tweeted, “The first paid news journalist in AgustaWestland scam to be interrogated.”

The total bribe amount paid in the chopper deal, according to the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), was around Rs 360 crore.

Of this Rs 50 crore was allegedly set aside to be paid within the media. Apart from Rs 28 lakh spent on a journalist and his family, the ED is also looking into Rs 5 crore paid to another scribe in connection with the Rafale deal and whether the transaction was paid in cash or kind.

Documents accessed by the ED point out that Rs 50 crore was allegedly spent on a media junket to Italy. The ED said not all who went on the junket were part of this scam.

Meanwhile, the ED is also on the trail of Rs 50 crore allegedly spent by James Christian Michel, who was in-charge of handling media. The ED wants to probe the nature of the relationship between AW and this scribe.