Chopper scam: Court grants bail to ex-defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma

New Delhi, April 28 (PTI): ADelhi court on Thursday granted bail to former defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma in a case related to the AgustaWestland chopper scam.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar grants relief to Sharma on a personal bond of Rs two lakh, with one surety in the like amount, after he appeared before the court in pursuance of the summons issued against him earlier.

The court noted the submission of CBI counsel who said that the agency had no objection if the accused was granted bail. The advocates appearing for Sharma told the court that he was innocent and was been falsely implicated in the case.

The court had on April 11 summoned Sharma, while taking cognisance of a charge sheet filed by the CBI, after the agency submitted that the sanction to prosecute him had been granted by the authorities concerned.

The charge sheet also named retired Indian Air Force (IAF) officers Jasbir Singh Panesa, N Santosh, S A Kunte, and Thomas Mathew, but the CBI said the requisite sanction to prosecute them is yet to be procured from the authorities concerned.

The first charge sheet in the case was filed in September 2017 naming former IAF chief SP Tyagi and others.

The agency had earlier told the court that “during the course of the investigation, copies of classified/secret official documents of Indian Air Force (IAF)/Ministry of Defence (MoD) such as Operational Requirements for VVIP helicopters before issuance of Request of Proposal and other incriminating documents running into more than one lakh pages received from Italy and Switzerland.”

It had also said that a “payment sheet” recovered from Christian Michel James, prepared on his dictation, shows that an amount of 30 million euros was paid/ proposed to be paid to the officers of IAF, MoD, bureaucrats, politicians, and family in India for showing favour in the VVIP helicopter deal.

It said that out of the kickbacks received from AgustaWestland, middleman Christian Michel James further made payments to various persons in India.

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Source: PTI