Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Saturday sent alleged middleman Christian Michel to seven-day Enforcement Directorate (ED) remand for his alleged role in the AugustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.
Michel, who was produced before Special Judge Arvind Kumar, was arrested by the ED which had asked for 15-day custody of the British national.
Michel was extradited to India from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on December 4. From the airport, he was escorted by a Delhi Police team to the CBI headquarters in south Delhi’s Lodhi Road area for interrogation over his alleged role in the purchase of 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland.
The extradition has come as a major boost to the Indian agencies investigating the bribery angle in the contract.
Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
After his deportation, Special Judge Arvind Kumar had allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to quiz the middleman till December 10.
In its remand application, the CBI told the court that an amount of 42.27 million euros was paid by the Westland Group of Companies to the firms of Michel as “kickbacks/bribe without undertaking any work against the receipt of such amount.”
The agency, through its lawyer, said that custodial interrogation of Christian Michel was needed “to unearth the deep-rooted conspiracy and to identify his accomplices including the IAF officials, bureaucrats and politicians who influenced the decisions” which made AgustaWestland eligible to participate in the bidding process and “ultimately bag it.”
A Red Corner Notice was issued by the Interpol which led to his arrest in Dubai in February 2017. Michel was incarcerated in Dubai since his arrest.
It was alleged that he had entered into a criminal conspiracy with co-accused persons, who included the then IAF chief SP Tyagi and his family members.