AgustaWestland middleman extradited within hours.

Christian Michel, one among the alleged middlemen, to have brokered the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal, has been extradited to India. As per investigators he has paid bribes to officials and politicians to swing the contract in favour of AgustaWestland. Augusta is the British unit of Italian firm Finmeccanica.

The CBI has said that this developmet had taken a few hours after the after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj discussed the extradition of Christian Michel with her counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The 57-year-old British national is expected to be produced in court tomorrow. “A team lead by A. Sai Manohar, Joint Director in CBI has been to Dubai for the purpose”, the CBI said. “Under the guidance of Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor (NSA), the entire operation is being coordinated by in-charge Director CBI M Nageswara Rao,” the agency spokesperson added.

“An amount of Euro 42.27 million 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.

In 1999, the Indian Air Force floated a proposal for acquisition of 12 VVIP helicopters to ferry top government functionaries. In 2010, the deal was granted to AgustaWestland for over Rs 3,600 crore. This deal was followed by allegations that technical specifications were manipulated and bribes paid to help AgustaWestland win the bid.
Steps for Extradition

An open non-bailable arrest warrant dated 24.09.2015 was issued on September 24, 2015 by the CBI Special Judge at Patiala House Court in New Delhi,” the CBI said.

On the basis of the non-bailable arrest warrant, Interpol put out a Red Notice on November 25, 2015. He was finally arrested by the UAE authorities in February 2017.

The CBI filed a chargesheet in the court on September 1, 2017 against Michel and 11 others. The CBI’s request for extradition was forwarded to the UAE authorities on March 19, 2017.

“On November 19 this year, the Court of Dubai upheld the lower court decision for possibility of extraditing him to Indian Authorities. Accordingly, Michel was extradited to face legal proceedings, the agency said.

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