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AgustaWestland choppers deal middleman Christian Michel sent to five-day CBI custody

The British national is wanted in India in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP choppers deal case.

AgustaWestland choppers deal middleman Christian Michel sent to five-day CBI custody
Image Courtesy: ANI

NEW DELHI: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Wednesday sent British national and alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland case Christian Michel to five days of CBI custody.

During the hearing in the special court, the CBI counsel argued that "the investigation is still going on and we need his custody as money was transferred in two Dubai based accounts."

Michel has also moved a bail plea before the special court, which kept his bail plea pending for next hearing and remanded him to 5-day CBI custody.

Court, however, allowed his counsel one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening for consultancy.

The British national, who is wanted in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP choppers deal case, was extradited to India on the night of Tuesday.

The VVIP choppers deal middleman, who was led by UAE authorities to India, landed in New Delhi late on Tuesday, according to reports.

According to the CBI, the operation to extradite the middleman was conducted under the guidance of National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and was coordinated by agency’s in-charge director M Nageswara Rao.

News agency ANI quoted the CBI officials as saying that a team led by the central agency’s Joint Director, A Sai Manohar, was sent to Dubai for the purpose of extraditing Christian Michel.

The Court of Cassation had last month upheld a lower court order which said that Michel could be extradited to India.

India officially made the request to the UAE in 2017 for his extradition, based on the criminal investigations conducted in the case by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The ED, in its chargesheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that the Britishman received Euro 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.

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.

Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the CBI. Both the agencies have notified an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

The ED investigation found that remittances made by Michel through his Dubai-based firm Global Services to a media firm he floated in Delhi, along with two Indians, were made from the funds which he got from AgustaWestland through "criminal activity" and corruption being done in the chopper deal that led to the subsequent generation of proceeds of crime.