Agusta “Middleman” Christian Michel Sent To 5-Day CBI Custody
Christian Michel is one of the three alleged middlemen being examined in the case, along with Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.
NEW DELHI, DEC 5, 2018: The Court has given the CBI five days’ custody of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Agusta Westland chopper deal extradited by Dubai.
India is investigating charges that Michel, a British national, organized bribes to push a Rs. 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 discussions 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 was produced in the court on Wednesday afternoon by the agency, after they questioned him all night at their headquarters since he arrived in Delhi from Dubai in a special aircraft last night.
Michel, 54, went through a medical examination in the presence of customs and other officials after he completed the immigration procedures at the airport. He was arrested 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 Agusta Westland case involves 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 Agusta Westland, 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 crore) from AgustaWestland as kickbacks. Michel is one of the three alleged middlemen being examined in the case, along with Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.
Lead Image Courtesy: thequint