Agusta “Middleman” Christian Michel In Delhi: First CBI, Then Court


Christian Michel In Delh

Christian Michel, the said middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal extradited by Dubai, will be produced before a Delhi court today. He was transferred to New Delhi in a special aircraft late Tuesday night and was taken to the CBI headquarters, where was questioned through the night. India is investigating charges that the British national organized bribes to push a 3,600-crore contract for VVIP helicopters to be purchased for top Indian leaders. His extradition came through on a day Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj held a meeting with her UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi. It is the first successful extradition since India initiated similar proceedings against economic offenders like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, and Mehul Choksi.

Michel, 54, went through a medical examination in the presence of customs and other officials after he accomplished the immigration procedures at the airport. He was captured in the UAE last year on the basis of an Interpol notice and was out on bail.

The CBI said Michel’s extradition took place “under the guidance” of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. He was accompanied by a team of CBI, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Foreign Ministry officials.

The AgustaWestland case concerned the deal to purchase 12 luxury helicopters for use by the President, Prime Minister, former prime ministers and other VIPs when Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led coalition was in power.

In 2014, the government scrapped the contract amid allegations that AgustaWestland, whose parent company Finmeccanica faced charges of bribery in Italy, had paid kickbacks in India.

The Enforcement Directorate has accused Michel of receiving 30 million Euros (about Rs. 225 crores) from AgustaWestland as kickbacks.

Michel is one of the three middlemen being examined in the case, along with Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

In July, Michel’s lawyer alleged that he was being pressured by Indian agencies to frame Congress leader Sonia Gandhi in return for amnesty from criminal proceedings.

In August 26, UAE had asked a court on the possibility of extraditing a British national to a third country. The court said a few days later that extradition is possible.

In November, a court confirmed the order, clearing the way for Michel’s extradition to India.

On Monday, the Dubai government passed an administrative order to enable Michel’s extradition. He was extradited in coordination with the Interpol and the Dubai CID.

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