Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

AgustaWestland Case: Christian Michel En Route Delhi's Patiala House Court

AgustaWestland Case: Christian Michel En Route Delhi's Patiala House Court

Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar allowed Michel's advocate to meet for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening while in custody.

"We need to confront him with the evidence".

The BJP said on Tuesday that the case could spell "serious trouble" for the "first family" of Congress, referring to the party´s long-powerful Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, Indian media reported. "Extradition of Christian Michel is a shot in the arm for the Narendra Modi government".

A team of the agency's officers led by Joint Director Sai Manohar was in Dubai to bring him back, it said.

A top Dubai court had upheld a lower court's order to consider the possibility of extraditing Christian Michel on November 20.

Michel was wanted for investigation but he escaped and had avoided joining the probe, he said. Months later on 1 September 2017, a charge sheet was filed against him and the trial court took cognizance of the offences on 11 October 2017.

Michel was extradited from Dubai yesterday, and was arrested by the CBI upon his arrival in New Delhi last night.

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"Under the guidance of Ajit Doval, the National Security Advisor (NSA), the entire operation is being coordinated by the in-charge Director of CBI, M Nageswara Rao", he said.

Michel, 57, was behind bars in Dubai since he was arrested and sent to custody pending the legal and judicial procedure in the U.A.E. 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.

He is accused of acting as middleman organising bribes in exchange for a contract for VVIP helicopters.

The case pertains to the alleged money laundering in the Rs 3,600-crore deal through many channels to favour UK-based AgustaWestland. The FIR named Tyagi and 12 other individuals as accused, besides four companies - Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix.

According to sources, James was a frequent visitor to India, operating as a middleman for defence procurements through a network of sources he had cultivated in the IAF and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) at different levels, including retired officials.

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. 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.

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