AgustaWestland deal ‘middleman’ Christian Michel sent to 5 days CBI custody

Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in Rs 3600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal was on Wednesday sent to five-day custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by a Delhi court.

Michel, a British national, was brought to India on late Tuesday night after the highest court in UAE paved the way for his extradition.

The CBI had sought 14 days’ custody of Michel, however, the agency was granted five days for interrogation to confront him with evidence and unearth the money trail in the scam.

Michel’s extradition came through on a day Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj held discussions with her UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi.

CBI said, Michel’s extradition took place “under the guidance” of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. He was accompanied by a team of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), CBI and Foreign Ministry officials.

At an election rally in Rajasthan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented on Michel’s extradition and said, “You must have seen how the middleman in the VVIP chopper scam was caught and brought from Dubai to Delhi.”

The AgustaWestland case involves the deal to purchase luxury helicopters for VIPs when Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led coalition was in power.

Extradition proceedings were held before UAE Court against Christian Michel on the extradition request of CBI. Dubai court in November upheld the lower court decision for possibility of extraditing Christian to Indian authorities.