AgustaWestland Chopper Scam: Middleman Christian Michel to be Extradited to India, Orders Dubai Court
AgustaWestland (Photo Credit: PTI/File)

Dubai, September 18: In a major breakthrough, Christian Michel in connection with the AgustaWestland Chopper scam is to be extradited to India. A Dubai court has permitted the extradition. Michel was arrested from Dubai in July. He allegedly acted as a middleman in the scam. According to reports, Indian investigation agencies had met Michel and his lawyer many times, in the presence of representatives from Dubai. Last Year, Dubai authorities informed the Indian agencies that no evidence related to a Dubai company which allegedly involved in the scam could be found. The company belonged to Christian Michel.

Earlier in July, the Enforcement Directorate had filed a supplementary chargesheet against the former Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief SP Tyagi in the AgustaWestland Chopper scam. Air Chief Marshal (Retd.) Tyagi’s cousins, lawyer Gautam Khaitan, two Italian middlemen, Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke and Finmeccanica were also named in the chargesheet. Finmeccanica is the parent company of AgustaWestland.

On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over an alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore for securing the deal.  It was alleged that Gerosa along with Guido Haschke and Christian Michel managed to contact IAF officials so that the specifications of helicopters can be altered. In 2005, the service ceiling requirement of helicopters was reduced from 6,000 m to 4,500 m. After this alteration, AgustaWestland became eligible to supply a dozen helicopters for VVIP flying duties.