AgustaWestland Chopper Scam: Christian Michel Extradited To India

AgustaWestland scam: Christian Michel boards flight to India after Dubai passes extradition order

AgustaWestland scam: Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the politically sensitive Rs 3,600 AgustaWestland chopper scam, will be produced before special judge Arvind Kumar in a Delhi's Patiala court today.

Persons familiar with the developments confirmed that Michel landed in India at 10:45pm after which he was taken to the headquarters of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for further questioning. Michel was extradited to India from Dubai late Tuesday night. However, when he failed to do so, an open non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against him in September 2015. The advocate also moved a bail plea on behalf of Michel.

"Extradition proceedings were held before a UAE court against James... on 11 November 2018, the court of Dubai upheld the lower court's decision for extraditing James to India to face legal proceedings".

The CBI filed a charge sheet against the accused in September 2017.

Both the CBI and the ED had notified an Interpol red corner notice against him. The ED had also claimed in the chargesheet that the three middlemen managed to make inroads into the IAF to influence the stand of the officials into reducing the service ceiling of the helicopters from 6,000 metre to 4,500 metre in 2005. On page 204 of the judgment, a 2008 letter seized from the home of middleman Haschke has been cited to argue in the court that key players were targeting top UPA leadership to swing the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.

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. Among those arraigned were retired Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, his cousins, former Air Marshal J.S. Gujral, two other alleged middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, the then AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini, Finmeccanica chairman Giuseppe Orsi and others.

The CBI, which registered an FIR in the case on March 12, 2013, had alleged that Tyagi and the other accused received kickbacks from AgustaWestland to help it win the contract.

Surjewala also said it was time that CBI investigated the prime minister for his alleged role in "exonerating" AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica instead of "weaving a fake story" to deflect attention from the "imminent defeat" in five states. AgustaWestland became eligible to supply the dozen helicopters for VVIP flying duties after this change.

During that meeting in Italy, they had negotiated a comprehensive fee equal to 7 per cent of the supply contract amount to cover the expenses and their payments.

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