Red Corner Notice against VVIP chopper deal suspect

A Red Corner Notice has been issued by Interpol against British national Christian Michel, an alleged middleman, on the request of CBI in connection with its probe into the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.

New Delhi: A Red Corner Notice has been issued by Interpol against British national Christian Michel, an alleged middleman, on the request of CBI in connection with its probe into the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.

54-year-old Michel is facing charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, illegal gratification and abuse of official position for allegedly acting as middleman to influence the decision to purchase 12 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland.

CBI sources said upon the request of the agency, the Interpol headquarters in France has issued the Red Corner Notice for Michel's arrest.

They said the immigration authorities have been requested to open lookout circular against Michel in the view of the notice.

In February 2010, India had signed the Rs 3,600 crore deal to acquire 12 three-engine AW-101 choppers from the Italian company for the services of VVIPs including the President and the Prime Minister.

Later allegations of corruption were levelled by Italian authorities.

CBI has named 13 individuals including a former IAF chief in the FIR as accused.

The agency has alleged the Air Force "conceded to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters from 6000 m to 4500 m as mandatory to which it was opposing vehemently on the grounds of security constraints and other related reasons."

It had alleged that reduction of service ceiling-- maximum height at which a helicopter can perform normally-- allowed UK-based AgustaWestland to come into the fray as, otherwise, its helicopters were not even qualified for submission of bids.  

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