Published: Ср, Декабря 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Christian Michel: A secret deal was offered before extradition began

Christian Michel: A secret deal was offered before extradition began

Modi Government approached Dubai authorities in early 2015, demanding the deportation of Michel, who was the main middlemen accused of bribing top Congress leadership for the controversial purchase of 12 VVIP Helicopters from Italian firm AgustaWestland, worth more than Rs.3600 crore. Both agencies have notified an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

The operation code-named "Unicorn" was carried out under the guidance of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and coordinated by interim CBI Director M Nageswar Rao, the CBI spokesperson said.

A team of the agency's officers led by Joint Director Sai Manohar was in Dubai to bring him back, it said.

The alleged involvement of James in the deal surfaced in 2012.

After the Court of Appeal last month upheld a lower court order which said that Michel could be extradited, he was kept under detention.

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The CBI filed a charge sheet against the accused in September 2017.

Among the foreign nationals listed are former Finmeccanica chairman Giuseppe Orsi, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolili, Guido Ralph Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. Two years, Michel came in front of media and gave series of interviews to accuse Indian Government for targeting him for the political gains. The ED had also claimed in the chargesheet that the three middlemen managed to make inroads into the IAF to influence the stand of the officials into reducing the service ceiling of the helicopters from 6,000 metre to 4,500 metre in 2005. Company AgustaWestland is also one of the accused in the case.

He was allegedly a frequent visitor to India and was operating as a middleman for defence procurement through a wide network of sources cultivated in the IAF and the Defence Ministry at different levels, including through retired and serving IAF officials, the agency said.

India had scrapped 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland in January 2014 over the breach of contractual obligations and the charges of paying Rs 423 crore kickbacks.

During that meeting in Italy, they had negotiated a comprehensive fee equal to 7 per cent of the supply contract amount to cover the expenses and their payments.

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