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Christian Michel sent to 5-day CBI custody


Christian Michel at New Delhi CBI headquarters.
 NEW DELHI, Dec 5 - Christian Michel, the alleged middleman who has been chargesheeted in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, was on Wednesday produced before a Delhi court which allowed his five-day custodial interrogation by the CBI.

He will again be produced in the court on December 10.

Michel, who is a citizen of United Kingdom, was brought to India late Tuesday night following his extradition by the UAE in connection with the case.

He was produced before Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar which allowed discussions between him and his advocate for five minutes.

Michel’s advocate asked the court to send him to judicial custody but the CBI sought his 14-days custodial interrogation to confront him with evidence and unearth the money trail in the scam.

However, the judge allowed CBI to interrogate Michel for five days in its custody.

The court asked the CBI to provide all relevant documents including the charge sheet to Michel.

A bail plea was also moved on his behalf. The court did not give any specific date for hearing the bail plea.

Security was tightened at the Patiala House court complex hours before the production of Michel.

Around 15-20 personnel of the CRPF and 30 Delhi Police officials had been deputed in the court complex as well as outside several of its gates, said one of the police officials. The police force, included women officials.

Michel, 54, landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on a Gulfstream jet at 10.35 pm Tuesday night after which he was arrested by the CBI in connection with the case.

Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the CBI. Both the agencies have notified an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

Michel had denied the charges.

The CBI has alleged there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million (approximately Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth Euro 556.262 million.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.

The money was nothing but “kickbacks” paid by the firm to execute the 12 helicopter deal in favour of the firm in the “guise of” genuine transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country, according to the charge sheet. – PTI

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