AgustaWestland deal 'middleman' Christian Michel sent to 5-day police custody
New Delhi , Dec 5 : Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3600 crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal, was sent to five days Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody on Wednesday.
Special Public Prosecutor Advocate DP Singh appeared for the CBI in the special court. The CBI counsel had asked for 14 days custody of Michel stating that we need his custody to confront him with some important documents. Michel's counsel Aljo K Joseph, however, opposed it.
Michel has moved a bail plea. The court, however, kept it pending for next hearing. The court allowed Michel's counsel one hour each in the morning and evening for consultancy.
According to CBI sources, Michel complained of anxiety during questioning by CBI and subsequently, he was given medicine.
On Tuesday, the CBI tweeted, "Wanted fugitive criminal Christian Michel James who has been avoiding criminal proceedings in India in AgustaWestlandCase is being extradited by UAE Authorities to India. Under the guidance of Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor (NSA), the entire operation is being coordinated by Incharge Director/CBI M. Nageswara Rao. A team led by A. Sai Manohar, Joint Director/CBI has been to Dubai for the purpose."
Michel's extradition, which took place days after a Dubai court rejected his plea against the move, marks a major success for Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who had been pushing for his extradition.
The Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VIP helicopter deal, finalised during the previous government of Manmohan Singh, had got mired in allegations of kickbacks. The 54-year-old Michel is an accused in the case along with some others including former Air Chief SP Tyagi.
According to the Enforcement Directorate charge sheet filed in a court here two years back, Michel had received kickbacks to the tune of 30 million Euros from AgustaWestland for the deal involving a purchase of 12 VIP helicopters. The deal, signed in 2007, was scrapped in 2013 following the bribery allegations.
CBI's request for Michel's extradition was forwarded to the UAE authorities on March 19 last year through diplomatic channels. The premier investigative agency filed a charge sheet in a trial court on September 1 the same year against Michel and 11 other accused. A month later, on October 11, the trial court took cognizance of the offences.
Extradition proceedings were held before UAE Court against Michel on the extradition request of CBI. Vide order dated November 19, 2018 the Court of Dubai upheld the lower court decision for the possibility of extraditing Michel to Indian authorities. Accordingly, Michel was extradited to face the legal proceedings in India.