New Delhi: Christian Michel, alleged middleman in AgustaWestland chopper deal, brought to CBI headquarter after being extradited from UAE.
Christian James Michel, the alleged British middleman wanted by investigative agencies in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, was extradited to India and landed at the Delhi airport at 11 pm.
He was arrested soon after landing in Delhi and will be questioned by the CBI on Wednesday. He is being brought back in an operation under the guidance of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
It is being coordinated by interim CBI Director M Nageswar Rao. A team of the agency’s officers led by Joint Director Sai Manohar was in Dubai to bring him back.
After a Dubai court last month upheld a lower court order which said that Michel could be extradited, he was kept under detention at the police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
India officially made the request to the Gulf nation sometime back for his extradition, based on the criminal investigations conducted in the case by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The ED, in its chargesheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.
The money was nothing but ‘kickbacks’ paid by the firm to execute the 12 helicopter deal in favour of the firm in ‘guise of’ genuine transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country, according to the chargesheet.
Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the CBI. Both the agencies have notified an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
It is alleged that he entered into criminal conspiracy with co-accused persons which included the then IAF chief SP Tyagi and his family members and in pursuance thereof, the public servants had abused their official positions by reduction of service ceiling of the VVIPs helicopter from 6000 metres to 4500 metres.
He was allegedly a frequent visitor to India and was operating as a middleman for defence procurement through a wide network of sources cultivated in the IAF and Defence Ministry at different levels including retired and serving IAF officials.
The ED investigation found that remittances made by Michel through his Dubai-based firm Global Services to a media firm he floated in Delhi, along with two Indians, were made from the funds which he got from AgustaWestland through ‘criminal activity’ and corruption being done in the chopper deal that led to the subsequent generation of proceeds of crime.