Christian Michel claims he has been ‘hijacked’ in the AgustaWestland chopper deal

Hours after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj discussed the extradition of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal, with her counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Michel was extradited to India Tuesday night, the CBI said.

Christian Michel has denied his alleged role in the VVIP chopper scandal. He continues to claim that he has been “hijacked”, Michel has alleged that his extradition is “illegal.” According to him, he was offered a “deal” by the Indian government to name certain leaders of UPA in lieu of a bail out. Sources in the government, however, denied offer of any such deal made to Michel.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which formally arrested him yesterday night, will produce him today before special CBI Court at Patiala House after 2:30 pm.

The Indian government was never a party to the legal proceedings pending in the Dubai courts. However, CBI’s special investigation team (SIT) probing the AgustaWestland case under special director Rakesh Asthana constantly supplied “incriminating evidence” against Michel to Dubai prosecutors.

This mechanism was established after the Dubai authorities informed India in February 2017 that there was no evidence of a Dubai company facilitating the payment of kickbacks.

“An amount of Euro 42.27million was paid by the Finmeccanica Group to the firms of Christian Michel James as kickbacks or bribe without undertaking any work against the receipt of such amount… (He) will be examined with respect to his involvement in the case and confronted with documents recovered during raids by Swiss Authorities and received by CBI…indicating the bribes paid by him to the Indian Authorities for securing the contract for supply of VVIP Helicopters from M/s AgustaWestland,” the CBI said.

On January 1, 2014, India cancelled the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and on charges of paying kickbacks amounting to Rs 423 crore.

 

Abha Boyal

Abha has taste of years in journalism and writing. She is known to elaborate her findings in a vibrant way. With writing as her incredible skill, Abha also enjoys exploring new places. She stays focused on whatever she does and this makes her an all rounder.

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