Christian Michel sent to 5-day CBI custody

Christian Michel sent to 5-day CBI custody

NEW DELHI: The alleged British middleman in a scandal-hit helicopter deal between India and an Anglo-Italian firm was due to appear in a Delhi court on Wednesday after being extradited by the UAE, authorities said.

"Christian Michel will be subjected to criminal proceedings in the CBI case before the court of special judge CBI in Delhi", the sources said.

A top Dubai court had upheld a lower court's order to consider the possibility of extraditing Christian Michel on November 20. Individuals named in the FIR include Finmeccanica officials Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, the Tyagi family, alleged middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, advocate Gautam Khaitan, formerly associated with Aeromatrix, and its CEO Praveen Bakshi.

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

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its chargesheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received Euro 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland. The Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are both probing the case, in which a chargesheet was filed against Michel in June 2016.

A Red Corner Notice was issued against him in 2017.

An investigation launched by Italian authorities into the irregularities in the AgustaWestland deal in 2014 indicted Christian Michel James for worldwide bribery and corruption.

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In a prosecution complaint filed past year, the ED had alleged that Michel had paid several people in cash.

It was not immediately clear whether Michel would be kept in a safe house or in the CBI headquarters itself for the night before being produced in a court.

The agency has also detected that the media firm floated by Michel in Delhi, along with two Indians, was nothing but a "shell company" to "launder the proceeds of crime".

India cancelled the Rs 3,600 crore deal with AgustaWestland in January 2014.

Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, in a statement, alleged that facing "imminent defeat" in state polls, Prime Minister Modi and the BJP government were seeking to "weave a web of lies" and construct a "mesh of deception to hoodwink" the people of India in the chopper case.

The reduction in ceiling made AgustaWestland eligible for contract worth 556.262 million Euros, which was awarded to it by the Defence Ministry on February 08, 2010, for procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters.

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