Christian Michel is one of the three alleged middlemen being examined in the Agusta-Westland VVIP chopper scandal case, along with Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. Michel has currently been sent to a five-day custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation by a court in Delhi.
The CBI wanted the custody period for two weeks when they produced him in court this afternoon after questioning him all night after his arrival in Delhi on a special flight, but were granted 5-days only by the court.
“Keeping in view the facts and circumstances, submissions made by the parties, I deem it fit to grant five days police (CBI) remand of accused,” the judge declared.
— The New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) December 6, 2018
Arguing for Christian Michel’s custody, the CBI told the court, “We need to confront him with some important documents. Money was transferred into two Dubai-based accounts.”Michel’s lawyer, however, had asked for judicial custody. The latter’s request for bail will be taken up by the court in the next hearing on December 10.
Commenting on Michel’s extradition and simultaneously taking a dig at the opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recently at an election rally in Rajasthan, said that, “You must have seen how we caught the middleman in the VVIP chopper scam and have brought him from Dubai to Delhi. Let us see what skeletons come out of the closet of the Congress.”
His extradition came through on a day Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj held discussions with her UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi. Michell’s extradition is the first successful extradition since India initiated similar proceedings against economic offenders like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the British High Commission said of Michel: “Our staff continue to support the family of a British man following his detention in the UAE. We are in contact with his family and the Emirati authorities regarding his case, and are urgently seeking information from the Indian authorities on his circumstances.”
The government is investigating charges that Michel, a British national, organised bribes to push a Rs 3,600-crore contract for VVIP helicopters to be purchased for top Indian leaders.
The AgustaWestland case involves the deal to purchase 12 luxury helicopters for use by the President, Prime Minister, former prime ministers and other VIPs, when Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led coalition was in power.