Big victory for Modi govt: AgustaWestland accused Christian Michel being extradited to India

By Ajit K DubeyFirst Published 4, Dec 2018, 8:34 PM IST
Highlights

Christian Michel is expected to be brought to India late tonight and it is likely to create more trouble for the Gandhi family as the AgustaWestland scam had taken place during the UPA regime   
 

New Delhi: In a big victory for the Modi government, the UAE has decided to extradite AgustaWestland scam accused Christian Michel. He would be brought to India late tonight and would be produced before a special CBI court in New Delhi to face criminal proceedings in the case.

Top government sources said that following the extradition plea filed by the CBI and efforts made by NSA Ajit Doval, the UAE government agreed to send Michel to India, where he will face trial for corruption in the Rs 3,600-crore AugustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.

Michel is likely to reach New Delhi's Palam airport by 10.30 to 11.00pm tonight.

The UAE government had arrested Michel in February 2017 on an Interpol Red Corner notice which was issued after a lot of efforts were made by the CBI.

It is believed that the extradition of Michel to India is likely to create more trouble for the Gandhi family as the scam had taken place during the UPA regime and it was alleged that due to political intervention, specifications were changed to favour the Italian firm AgustaWestland and keep other competitors out of the bid.

The VVIP choppers were supposed to replace the fleet of Mi-8 helicopters of Russian origin which are used to fly the President, vice-president and the Prime Minister during visits within the country.

"Christian Michel will be subjected to criminal proceedings in the CBI case before the court of special judge CBI in Delhi," the sources said. 

According to the sources, it is alleged that he had entered into a criminal conspiracy with the accused and the public servants who then abused their official positions by reducing the service ceiling of VVIP helicopters from 6,000m to 4,500m.

Michel was also acting as a controller of the two middlemen named Ralph Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

According to sources, a meeting was held in casino coaster of Italy during July 2006 where it was decided that Michel would join hands with two middlemen for scouting and monitoring activities regarding the acquisition of helicopters in India keeping in view his knowledge of the operational mechanism of the Indian military.

Sources said that Michel had entered into as many as 12 contracts through his two firms, with Finmeccannica, AgustaWestland and Westland helicopters to legitimise the illicit commission on procurement of the VVIP choppers.

The CBI in a statement said that the entire operation was supervised by Doval and coordinated by CBI acting director M Nageswara Rao.

Joint director of CBI, A Sai Manohar, had gone to Dubai to facilitate Michel's extradition.

The involvement of Michel as a middleman in the VVIP chopper deal surfaced in 2012.

Michel will be examined with respect to his involvement in the case and confronted with documents procured during raides by Swiss security agencies. These were received by the CBI through official channels indicating the bribes made by him to the Indian authorities for securing the contract. 

Last Updated 4, Dec 2018, 9:53 PM IST