Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

British middleman in AgustaWestland scam being extradited to India

British middleman in AgustaWestland scam being extradited to India

Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal extradited by Dubai, has been sent to five-day custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation by a court in Delhi.

The 16-seater jet carrying Michel reached the Palam airport, where officials completed Michel's immigration formalities.

"We need to confront him with the evidence". The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said yesterday that Michel's extradition could spell serious trouble for the Congress's "first family", claiming that Michel was known to be a Gandhi-family loyalist.

It also asserted that the development was an unequivocal affirmation of the Narendra Modi government's "seriousness in fighting corruption".

The agency has some trail and evidence of the illegal money sent overseas or routed from foreign shores to India vis-a-vis this case and Michel is expected to tell the investigators about the entire flow of money that has happened in at least two bank accounts in Delhi and few accounts linked to a media firm in Delhi, they said. "An open non-bailable arrest warrant dated September 24, 2015, was issued by the special judge, CBI cases, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi", CBI spokesperson said. "Hence, an open non-bailable arrest warrant dated 24 September 2015 was issued by the Special Judge, CBI Cases, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi and he was subsequently mentioned in the first charge sheet filed past year", the CBI official quoted above, added.

Michel was extradited by India from the UAE and was brought to Delhi late on Tuesday night. The ED had also claimed in the chargesheet that the three middlemen managed to make inroads into the IAF to influence the stand of the officials into reducing the service ceiling of the helicopters from 6,000 metre to 4,500 metre in 2005.

Sources said that Michel had entered into as many as 12 contracts through his two firms, with Finmeccannica, AgustaWestland and Westland helicopters to legitimise the illicit commission on procurement of the VVIP choppers.

Surjewala also said it was time that CBI investigated the prime minister for his alleged role in "exonerating" AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica instead of "weaving a fake story" to deflect attention from the "imminent defeat" in five states.

During that meeting in Italy, they had negotiated a comprehensive fee equal to 7 per cent of the supply contract amount to cover the expenses and their payments.

Christian Michel was among the alleged middlemen who had brokered the deal and who, investigators claim, paid bribes to officials and politicians to swing the contract in favour of AgustaWestland, the British arm of Italian firm Finmeccanica.

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