Home International Dubai court orders extradition of British middleman Christian Michel

Dubai court orders extradition of British middleman Christian Michel

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AgustaWestland VVIP choppers deal case

A Dubai court has ordered the extradition of British middleman Christian Michel in the 3,600 crore rupees AgustaWestland VVIP choppers deal case. Official sources said the court pronounced the judgement yesterday after India officially made a request to the Gulf nation sometime back, based on the criminal investigations conducted in this case by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The full contents of the order against Christian Michel James are expected to be known by today as the legal pronouncement is in Arabic and is being translated in English at the behest of Indian authorities.

The order is being seen as a major shot in the arm to the agencies CBI and ED — probing the case.The ED, in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received about 225 crore rupees from AgustaWestland. The ED had said that the money was nothing but “kickbacks” paid by the firm to execute the 12 helicopter deal in favour of the firm.

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 want Michel to join the probe to take the case forward.

In its charge sheet, the ED also said that the three middlemen managed to make inroads into the Indian Air Force (IAF) to influence the stand of the officials into reducing the service ceiling of the helicopters from 6,000 meters to 4,500 meters in 2005.

AgustaWestland became eligible to supply a dozen helicopters for VVIP flying duties after this change.

On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over the alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of 423 crore rupees by it for securing the deal.

Official sources have indicated that based on the Dubai Court ruling there is a possibility of the extradition of the British middleman Christian James Michel in the Agusta Westland chopper case. He was under detention for sometime in UAE and facing extradition charges.

A Red Corner Notice (RCN) had been issued against Michel, alleged to be a middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal on the request of Indian authorities. The ED, in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received about 225 crore rupees from Agusta Westland. The ED had said that the money was part of the “kickbacks” paid by the firm to execute the 12 helicopter deal in favour of the firm.

Both ED and CBI want Michel to join the probe to take the case forward. In 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary Agusta Westland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over the alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of 423 crore rupees by it for securing the deal.

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