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VVIP chopper deal middleman Christian Michel extradited to India, moved to CBI headquarters

© Provided by India Today AgustaWestland scam: Christian Michel boards flight to India after Dubai passes extradition order

From India Today

Fourteen days after the Supreme Court of Dubai passed an order to extradite AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal middleman Christian Michel to India, in a major win for the Indian agencies and government, the Dubai authorities sent him to Delhi on a private jet. Michel reached Delhi around 11 pm on Tuesday (December 4) night.

India has officially taken Michel into custody and the British national will be put up at the CBI headquarters for the night.

A non-bailable warrant has been issued against Michel and he will be taken for medical examination tomorrow.

Earlier in the day, sources confirmed to India Today TV that the Dubai government authorities had informed Michel that he will be extradited to India and by evening they took him to the airport.

Michel, who earlier alleged that he is being made a scapegoat by the Modi government due to the upcoming elections, had appealed before the Supreme Court against the lower court order but on November 19, the highest court rejected his appeal and ordered his extradition.

Rosemary Patrizi, Michel's lawyer spoke India Today TV from Milan and said, "I'm hoping to meet Michel in India soon."

Asked if there will be consequences of the extradition in the middle of the poll season, Patrizi said, "Yes, they will be using him for political gains."

A British national, Christian Michel, according to sources will be kept in safe custody of Indian agencies as per the extradition conditions and will not be sent to jail. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will produce him before the designated Patiala House Court for his remand.

According to sources in CBI, Michel is a key person who has knowledge about the chain of bribery which was allegedly involving senior Air Force officials, Indian defence officials and politicians. In an interview to India Today TV, Michel had alleged that he was forced by the officials of CBI to take the names of senior Congress leaders.

The 57-year-old has been accused by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of receiving about Euro 30 million (approximately Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland to influence the deal in its favour. The ED and CBI are both probing the case, in which a chargesheet was filed against Michel in June 2016.

On the request of Interpol, Michel was first arrested by the Dubai authorities on February 8, 2017. The Indian agencies submitted the extradition request and evidence against him before the Dubai court and authorities.

In 2018, Michel was detained by the agencies again and was kept in safe custody for over 20 days. In his statement to Dubai authorities, a copy of which is available with India Today TV, Michel had said, "The reason for my acquisition is that I was working in the deal with the previous government which was headed by Dr Manmohan Singh. As I had mentioned that the government was changed into 2014 and now is headed by Narendra Modi, a government that is against the previous government. Putting me in this case is just to pressurise me to testify against the politicians of previous government."

The Indian agencies have accused Michel of receiving kickbacks from AgustaWestland -- in the guise of 'genuine transactions' for executing several work contracts -- to sway the 12-helicopter deal in its favour.

Michel is one of the three middlemen being investigated by ED and CBI. The other two are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. An Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN) has also been notified against Michel after the court had issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

In its chargesheet, the ED had said the three middlemen "managed to" influence the Indian Air Force (IAF) officials to reduce the service ceiling of these 12 helicopters from 6,000 metre to 4,500 metre in 2005, which made AgustaWestland eligible for the deal. Michel also allegedly paid off influential people in India, who helped reject the Russian and American choppers. He was allegedly also in touch with officials from the PMO, SPG, CVC and defence ministry in the UPA government

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Daily News India: VVIP chopper deal middleman Christian Michel extradited to India, moved to CBI headquarters
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