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AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel set to be extradited to India

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

AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel set to be extradited to India

British national Christian Michel, wanted by Indian investigative agencies in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP choppers deal case, was taken to the Dubai International Airport on Tuesday to be extradited to India, according to a media report.

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

Michel, 54, was taken to the Dubai International Airport from where he will be extradited to India later in the day, Khaleej Times reported.

The extradition procedure happens in coordination with the Interpol and the CID.

The development comes on a day when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held exhaustive discussions with her UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi.

India officially made the request to the Gulf nation 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 he 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.

Michel denies the charges.

On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Italy-based Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal.

The CBI has alleged there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million (approximately Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth Euro 556.262 million.