VVIP chopper deal middleman Christian Michel being sent to India tonight: Report
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VVIP chopper deal middleman Christian Michel being sent to India tonight: Report

Wanted AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel has been taken to the Dubai international airport to extradite him to India, a report in the Khaleej Times said on Tuesday.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2018 19:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
VVIP chopper deal,middleman,Christian Michel
India had cancelled the chopper deal after the bribery allegations had surfaced in 2014.(PTI/File Photo)

Wanted AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel has been taken to the Dubai international airport to extradite him to India, a report in the Khaleej Times said on Tuesday.

The move comes after the Court of Cassation in Dubai upheld a lower court order which had stated that Michel could be extradited to India. Michel had been detained at India’s behest and kept in detention at the police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Khaleej Times reported that Michel would be extradited on Tuesday night in keeping with the Indian government’s request. The extradition will be carried out in coordination with the Interpol and CID, the report said.

A British national, Michel is wanted in India for allegedly organising bribes in exchange for a 2007 contract for VVIP helicopters for the purchase of 12 luxury helicopters for use by top leaders, including the President, Prime Minister and former prime ministers. He was detained in UAE this June at India’s request and granted bail later.

India had cancelled the chopper deal after the bribery allegations had surfaced in 2014.

With the Dubai government approving his extradition, he is likely to be brought to India some time next week.

The CBI has long suspected that Michel was the conduit to route bribe money to political contacts in India. There were two other middlemen in the deal who had allegedly influenced the bureaucrats to swing the deal in favour AgustaWestland.

In September last year, the CBI had filed a chargesheet against former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi and eight others — Tyagi’s cousin Sanjeev alias Julie, Infotech legal advisor Gautam Khaitan, former Air Force vice-chief JS Gujral, former AgustaWestland chief executive officer Bruno Spagnolini, former Finmeccanica chairman Giuseppe Orsi and alleged middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Guido Haschke and Christian Michel — in the case.

Three companies — Finmeccanica, its UK-based subsidiary AgustaWestland, and Mohali-based IDS Infotech — were also charged.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigated the money-laundering aspect of the case and charged 34 Indians, foreign nationals and companies this July.

“ED’s investigation revealed that the kickbacks were paid by AgustaWestland for bagging the VVIP chopper deal in India through two different channels. One channel was handled by middleman Christian Michel James and the other channel was handled by Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke,” an ED official had told Hindustan Times in July on the condition of anonymity.

First Published: Dec 04, 2018 19:02 IST