One of the most crucial pieces of evidence in the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper scam is the Budget Note, prepared by the two alleged middlemen – Ralph Guido Haschke, who says he wrote it on the dictation of the other, Christian Michel. The CBI received this note in response to the letter rogatory sent to different countries in the case.
Why is this note so important? The note, written using code words, reveals the alleged beneficiaries in the scam, and also gives the break-up of the commission paid to each beneficiary.
In 2016, during a hearing in an Italian court in connection with the AgustaWestland case, Haschke was confronted with the note. He was asked to give the full-form of all the code words to the court. He gave the full-forms of all the code words, except for ‘AP’. He said:
Haschke informed the court that he didn’t know what ‘AP’ stands for. He confirmed that ‘Fam’ stands for ‘Family’ but didn’t know which ‘family’ was being referred to.
On the expenses that are listed in the note, Haschke said that €6 million went to Air Force/Military, and €8.4 million went to bureaucracy. He also said that it is not clear whether €6 or 3 million went to ‘AP’ and whether €15/16 million to ‘Family’.
Haschke also informed the court that this was a ‘generic budget’ prepared by Michel.
“It was a generic budget, devoid of any subjective specification – he (Michel) did not mention any names because this was a hypothetical document that I had been given by Michel, who said, “There are... I’ll have to incur the following costs.” I don’t think that even he had the faintest idea of how and in what way, but this is what he told me and of course he did not mention any name because surely he did not have any name in mind.”
Whether ‘AP’ stands for a politician or a political party, only Michel can clarify to the agencies.
Depending on Michel’s statement, the agencies will have to corroborate with further evidence by collecting documents to prove that the bribe money was actually transferred to all those mentioned in the budget note.
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