AgustaWestland Deal: CBI Gets 5-Day Custody of Christian Michel
Christian James Michel, the alleged middleman wanted in India in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.
Christian James Michel, the alleged middleman wanted in India in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.(Photo: PTI)
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AgustaWestland Deal: CBI Gets 5-Day Custody of Christian Michel

The CBI Special Court has sent Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland deal, to 5 days of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) remand, reported ANI.

The probe agency sought nine days remand of Michel for his custodial interrogation saying he was not “cooperating” in the investigation of the case.

Snapshotclose

  • Christian Michel is one of the three alleged middlemen being probed in the AgustaWestland case besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa
  • The AgustaWestland deal pertains to the purchase of helicopters for the president, prime minister and other VIPs when the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government was in power
  • The Dubai government had passed an administrative order, paving the way for Michel’s extradition
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CBI Court Fixes 30 Minutes for Michel's Counsel to Visit Him

CBI Special Court has fixed 30 minutes time, both in morning and evening every day, for the counsel of Christian Michel.

CBI wanted the counsel to visit only once a day

CBI Agrees to Give British High Commission Consular Access to Michel

CBI has agreed to give British High Commission access to Christian Michel, reported ANI.

“We have already been approached by British counselors. We have allowed their plea of keeping their own counsel,” the CBI said.

CBI Gets 5-Day Custody of Christian Michel

The CBI Special Court has sent Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland deal, to 5 days of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) remand, reported ANI.

CBI said, “We need to confront him with LR (letters rogatory) that have been received from five countries and Christian Michel didn’t co-operate with Italian investigation in the case.”

CBI Seeks 9-Day Remand of Christian Michel

The CBI has sought a 9-day remand of the alleged middleman, Christian Michel, in AgustaWestland deal, reported ANI. Meanwhile, Michel has moved a fresh bail plea in CBI Special Court.

Further, the CBI has said that Christian Michel is not cooperating in the investigation.

CBI to Demand Further Custody: Sources

The CBI will demand further custody of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in AgustaWestland case, reported ANI, quoting sources. Michel’s five-day custody ends on Monday, 10 December.

CBI Questioning of Michel Underway

Questioning of Christian Michel regarding AgustaWestland is underway, CBI spokesperson confirmed.

The spokesperson also said that CBI has received consular access of Michel through MEA, ANI reported. His lawyer met with him on Thursday, 6 December, in the CBI headquarters.

Major Diplomatic Win for India: MEA

Calling Christian Michel’s arrest a major diplomatic win for India, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said it was an example of cooperation between India and UAE.

“After following all due process and after exhausting of all judicial processes, Christian Michel was extradited to India. The matter is being handled by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). This is an example of cooperation between India UAE,” he said.

Congress is Rattled With Christian Michel's Extradition: Sambit Patra

BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra hit out at the Congress party and said that the party is rattled after Christian Michel’s extradition.

“They sent their team to save Michel. Congress's Aljo Joseph appeared for him in Court, they later went through the charade of removing him. The family in Congress is getting sleepless nights.”

Patra further alleged that other than Joseph, there are two other lawyers – Vishnu Shankar who is the son of a Kerala Congress leader and Sriram Parakkat who has been an NSUI member – defending Michel.

Aljo Joseph Leaves From CBH Headquarters After Meeting Christian Michel

Aljo Joseph, lawyer of alleged middleman Christian Michel, has left from the CBI headquarters after meeting him.

KEY EVENT

British High Commission Seeks Christian Michel’s Consular Access

British High Commission has asked the Indian government to provide them with consular access to alleged AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel, reported ANI.

The news agency reported quoting sources that the Indian Government has received the request and is currently examining the matter.

Other than Aljo Joseph, there are two other lawyers of #ChristianMichel , Vishnu Shankar who is the son of a Kerala Congress leader and Sriram Parakkat who has been an NSUI member. All 3 have worked under big Cong lawyers like Salman Khurshid and Kapil Sibal

Christian Michel's Lawyer Had Met Congress General Secy Earlier

Earlier on Wednesday, Aljo K Joseph, the lawyer representing Christian Michel, was seen meeting Congress General Secretary Deepak Babaria at the party headquarters.

The Indian Youth Congress later expelled Joseph from the party and removed him from IYC's Legal Department with immediate effect.

Babaria had also spoken to Republic TV earlier, wherein he refuted the linkages being drawn between Christian Michel and the Congress.

“He is the worker of the youth Congress. That all I don’t know, I just know he helps us out in our payments. I don’t know if he appearing for someone in his professional capacity. I don’t have anything to do with it. There is no Congress link. He is working in his professional capacity [sic].”
Deepak Babaria, as quoted by Republic TV
KEY EVENT

Indian Youth Congress Expels Christian Michel's Lawyer From Party

The Indian Youth Congress on Wednesday, 5 December, said it has expelled Aljo K Joseph, the lawyer representing Christian Michel, from the party and removed him from IYC's Legal Department with immediate effect.

“Aljo K Joseph appeared (for Christian Michel’s hearing) in his personal capacity. He did not consult the Youth Congress before appearing in the case. IYC does NOT endorse such actions.”
Amrish Ranjan Pandey, IYC National Spokesperson

ED Likely to File Supplementary Charge Sheet in AgustaWestland Case

The Enforcement Directorate is likely to file a supplementary charge sheet in the AgustaWestland chopper case, reported ANI.

KEY EVENT

'My Relation With Congress and My Profession Are Separate': Christian Michel's Lawyer

Speaking to the media after representing Christian Michel at Delhi's Patiala House Court on Wednesday, 5 December, lawyer Aljo K Joseph affirmed that he holds the position of national in-charge of the Indian Youth Congress legal department, but maintained that he appeared for his client in his professional capacity.

“I’m an actively practicing advocate. I appeared for him (Christian Michel) in my professional capacity... I’ve only discharged my duty as a lawyer. It has nothing to do with Congress. My relation with Congress is separate and my profession is separate.”
Aljo K Joseph, Christian Michel’s Lawyer

Joseph went on to say that he was just assisting Christian Michel in the matter.

KEY EVENT

Cong Has Made Its Position Clear in AgustaWestland Case Earlier: Rahul Gandhi

When asked about the AgustaWestland case in Hyderabad, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the party has made its position very clear in the matter earlier in a press conference.

“The Prime Minister should explain why he gave Rs 30,000 crore on Rafale to Mr Anil Ambani.”
Rahul Gandhi, as quoted by ANI
KEY EVENT

Lawyer Representing Michel is In-Charge of Indian Youth Congress' Legal Dept

Aljo K Joseph, the lawyer representing Christian Michel in the CBI Special Court on Wednesday, is national in-charge of the legal department of the Indian Youth Congress, as per his Twitter profile.

He reportedly affirmed that he was from the Congress when asked by journalists about the same.

Christian Michel Complained of Anxiety During Questioning: CBI Sources

Alleged middleman Christian Michel complained of anxiety during questioning by the CBI on Wednesday, 5 December, after which he was given medicine, ANI reported citing agency sources.

KEY EVENT

CBI Gets 5-Day Custody of Christian Michel, Bail Plea Pending

The CBI on Wednesday, 5 December, got five-day custody of alleged middleman Christian Michel in the AgustaWestland chopper deal case.

Michel had moved a bail plea, but the court kept it pending for the next hearing and remanded him to CBI custody.

The CBI had originally sought a 14-day custody at Delhi's Patiala House Court.

Judge Arvind Kumar allowed Michel's lawyer to speak to him twice a day for an hour each in the morning and the evening for consultancy.

The CBI reportedly said they have information of classified material and have to find out the details regarding the money trail, the people involved, and where the money was spent and who received it. It sought his custody "as money was transferred in two Dubai-based accounts".

We need his (Michel) police custody to confront him with some important documents.” 
CBI counsel DP Singh before the CBI Special Court

Michel was being represented by Aljo J Joseph in the court.

Now This Middleman Will Disclose the Secrets: PM Modi

Speaking on the extradition of Christian Michel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Indian government has got the middleman in the AgustaWestland deal and now he will reveal the secrets.

Visuals: Christian Michel Extradited to India

How is Nabbing Christian Michel Wrong, Asks Amit Shah

Addressing a rally in poll-bound Rajasthan, BJP chief Amit Shah hit out at the Congress and asked if the grand old alliance wanted to save the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal.

“Opposition has no other issue, what is wrong if we nabbed the middleman? Does the opposition want to save him? (sic),” Shah added.

"Diplomatic Victory" for BJP: Nalin Kohli

Terming it a “diplomatic victory” for the Modi government, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said, "The country is entitled to know the truth on who were the bribe-receivers in India. Certainly, we are closer to know the truth.”

It is also a confirmation that the efforts made by the India side before the courts in Dubai were serious and based on sound legal arguments, Kohli said.

But, above all, he added, it was an unequivocal affirmation of the Modi government's “seriousness in fighting corruption”.

Extradition of Christian Michel a Shot in the Arm for BJP: GVL Narsimha

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said, “Extradition of Christian Michel is a shot in the arm for the Narendra Modi government. Now that he will be available to the CBI, the 'real' bribe-receivers of the AgustaWestland bribes scandal will be exposed.”

Claiming that Michel was “known to be a Gandhi-family loyalist”, Rao said “his extradition and custody could spell serious trouble for the Congress' first family”.

The Congress has however denied all allegations against its leaders in connection with the deal.

No Evidence Against Christian Michel: Rosemary Patrizi

Speaking to CNN-News18, Christian Michel’s lawyer Rosemary Patrizi, said that there was no evidence against him.

“Back here in Milan, we had five degrees of proceedings (in the investigation) and we found no evidence. India was also a part of the proceedings and could’ve submitted any evidence... but, there isn’t any. No one could find anything against him.”

Michel to be Produced Before Judge Arvind Kumar

Christian Michel will be produced before Special Judge Arvind Kumar at the Patiala House Court in Delhi, reported ANI.

Salman Khurshid Attacks CBI

Taking a jibe at the CBI, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said on 4 December, “The other countries involved in the matter have finished their proceedings and come to the conclusion that there is nothing against these people. Now I hope they (the CBI) have their facts and figures in place to be able to persuade the court in the country.”

Congress Leader Hanumantha Rao Hits Out at PM Modi

Speaking to CNN-News18, Congress leader Hanumantha Rao asks why the prime minister is not interested in the Rafale deal the way he has showed interest in the VVIP chopper scam.

He alleges that this is a ploy by the government to malign the image of the Opposition.

Questioning Continues at CBI Headquarters

Questioning of alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland deal continues at CBI headquarters, reported ANI.

Former Air Chief SP Tyagi Refuses to Speak to Media

Former Indian Air Force Chief SP Tyagi, who was granted bail earlier in September in a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland deal, refused to speak to media outside his residence.

I Am Offering to Pay 100%: Vijay Mallya

In the wake of Christian Michel’s extradition, embattled businessman Vijay Mallya tweeted that his extradition case will take its own course.

What is the Agustawestland Deal?

In February 2010, the Indian government signed a Rs 3,546-crore contract with AgustaWestland.

Finmeccanica, the parent company, beat S-92 Superhawk (US) to bag the deal.

India was to receive 12 AW101 AgustaWestland choppers for the IAF. Eight of these were to transport the President, Prime Minister, Vice-President and other VVIPs, while four others would be used for other duties. In late 2012, the first fleet of AW101s reached India, with two more following soon after.

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KEY EVENT

Christian Michel to be Produced in Court

Michel will be produced before the Patiala House court post 12 pm.

The Dubai government had passed an administrative order, paving the way for the extradition on Tuesday, and the Indian authorities were there to complete the final formalities. Michel is wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI.

Michel’s lawyer Rosemary Patrizi had said that there was no evidence against him.

KEY EVENT

Christian Michel Extradited to India

Christian Michel was extradited to India on Tuesday, 4 December.

Michel was brought to New Delhi on board an aircraft of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) at around 10.45 pm from Dubai. He had left Dubai on Monday, 3 December, accompanied by a team of doctors and officials to ensure he stays fit.

Who is Christian Michel?

Christian Michel is a well-known British consultant who was very active in the Indian defence sector. It was alleged that he was hired by AgustaWestland to facilitate the deal for the supply of 12 helicopters to India in 2010.

In its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, the ED had alleged that he received 30 million euros (approximately Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland as “kickbacks” to execute the deal and to make it look like a genuine transaction.

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