December 10, 2018

Does Congress want to save Christian Michel, asks Amit Shah

05 December 2018, 03:18 | Darnell Patrick

Michel Christian in New Delhi

AgustaWestland chopper case Christian Michel

After the Court of Appeal last month upheld a lower court order which said that Michel could be extradited, he was kept under detention.

Michel is a prime accused in the infamous AgustaWestland chopper scam and is suspected to have been a middleman who received money for the deal.

The CBI had filed its first chargesheet in the AgustaWestland scam in September 2017, in which it alleged that Christian Michel through his companies had received 42.27 million euros for the objective of payment for service and consultancy contracts in 2010-11. There are other players who are accused in the bribery case including Guido Haschke, Carlo Gerosa and Tyagi brothers (former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi and his three cousins Sandeep, Sanjeev and Rajiv) but no one knows the secrets of shady dealing better than Michel, who was literally born into arms dealing.

Surjewala accused the Modi government of indulging in a "cover-up conspiracy" to hide its role in helping and promoting the "banned company" AgustaWestland and its parent company, Finmeccanica. Indian agencies had an even tougher task, given that Michel was a United Kingdom national that India was seeking to extradite from a third country.

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

Initially, the UAE court had said the evidence against Michel by Indian authorities was flimsy.

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Michel has denied all the charges. Two years, Michel came in front of media and gave series of interviews to accuse Indian Government for targeting him for the political gains.

The investigative agency said Michel will be examined with respect to his involvement in the case and confronted with the documents including bogus transactions carried out by his firms, Global Trade & Commerce Ltd. London and Global Services FZE, Dubai to legitimise slush funds. He was allegedly also in touch with officials from the PMO, SPG, CVC and defence ministry. "An open non-bailable arrest warrant dated September 24, 2015, was issued by the special judge, CBI cases, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi", CBI spokesperson said.

"The trial court took cognisance of the offences in October 2017, after which the CBI's request for extradition was forwarded to the UAE authorities on 19 March 2018 through diplomatic channels", a CBI officer said.

"He was updating and informing the management of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland, namely Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini and others, about his efforts in India for securing supply contract of VVIP Helicopters", the statement said.

A team lead by Joint CBI Director A. Sai Manohar had been to Dubai to extradite James, who has been avoiding criminal proceedings in India in AgustaWestland case.

Both the CBI and the ED had notified an Interpol red corner notice against him.

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