New Delhi: A Dubai court on Tuesday ruled that British national Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper case, will be extradited to India. The orders came after India in January this year officially requested the UAE to extradite Michel based on the investigations by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
In January, the Enforcement Directorate had lodged a request with the UAE authorities for extraditing Christian Michel. Apart from filing chargesheets in bribery cases in the Indian courts, both the ED and the CBI had also filed non-bailable warrants against the British national. Last year, a red corner notice was also issued against him.
Christian is accused of organising bribes in exchange for VVIP choppers contract. In the chargesheets, the investigation agencies said that Michel had allegedly received Rs 235 crore to ensure that the contract went to AgustaWestland.
The chargesheet also named former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi and his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi, who were recently granted bail by a Delhi court, the then IAF Vice Chief JS Gujral and advocate Gautam Khaitan. Khaitan, the chargesheet said, was the mastermind behind the deal.
In July, Michel’s lawyer had said that the Indian authorities, which were supposed to produce any evidence against the alleged British middleman before the UAE courts within the stipulated time, failed to do so. The Indian government was supposed to produce evidence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) court by May 19, 2018, against Michel.
“But the government did not present any evidence,” Michel’s lawyer, Rosemary Patrizi Dos Anjos, told IANS over the phone from Milan in Italy. Patrizi further said that the Indian government failed to produce any evidence since it “does not have any evidence against” him. She further said that there was no evidence against the British middleman in “Italy, Switzerland or India.”
She also alleged that Christian is being pressured to frame Congress leader Sonia Gandhi in exchange for an absolution in the case. Rubbishing the allegations, the CBI had said that it didn’t interrogate the alleged middleman in the UAE.