AgustaWestland Middleman Christian Michel Sent to Five-day CBI Custody
Michel, who is a citizen of United Kingdom, was brought to India late Tuesday night following his extradition by the UAE in connection with the case.
File photo of AgustaWestland scam accused middleman Michel Christian at CBI headquarters in New Delhi. (Image:PTI)
New Delhi: Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, was produced before a Delhi court on Wednesday which allowed his five-day custodial interrogation by the CBI.
Michel, 54, landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on a Gulfstream jet at 10.35 pm on Tuesday after which he was arrested by the CBI in connection with the case.
He was produced before Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar which allowed discussions between him and his advocate for five minutes.
Michel's advocate asked the court to send him to judicial custody but the CBI sought his custodial interrogation to confront him with evidence and unearth the money trail in the scam. A bail plea was also moved on behalf of him.
Michel is one of the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the Enforcement Directorate 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.
However, Michel had denied the charges.
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.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received EUR 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 charge sheet.
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.
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 on September 1, 2017, had filed a charge sheet in the case in which Michel was named as one of the accused.
Former IAF Chief SP Tyagi was also chargesheeted by the CBI in a Delhi Court along with nine others in connection with a bribery case in the VVIP chopper deal.
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