MeraNews Network, New Delhi: Absconding British middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore Agusta-Westland VVIP chopper scam, Christian Michel has been extradited to India from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
He was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi on Tuesday night. He is being questioned by the probe agency and will be produced before a Delhi court on Wednesday. Michel's extradition took place under the guidance of National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, on a day when External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj held extensive discussions with her UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi.
The Agusta-Westland case involves the deal to purchase 12 luxury helicopters for use by the President, Prime Minister, former prime ministers and other VIPs when Manmohan Singh's Congress-led coalition was in power.
In 2014, the government scrapped the contract amid allegations that AgustaWestland, whose parent company Finmeccanica faced charges of bribery in Italy, had paid kickbacks in India. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has accused Michel of receiving about Rs 225 crore from AgustaWestland as kickbacks. An open non-bailable arrest warrant in September 2015 was issued against him by the special CBI Court.
Michel was arrested by UAE authorities in February last year after CBI and the ED had notified an Interpol red corner notice against him. A charge sheet was filed against him in September last year. He is one of the three middlemen being examined in the case, along with Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.