In his rally in Rajasthan on the last day of campaigning before the state elections on Friday, Modi referred to the extradition of Michel saying, "The government has brought the middleman involved in a helicopter scam from Dubai".
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. India is investigating charges that Michel, a British national, organised bribes to push a Rs. 3,600-crore contract for VVIP helicopters to be purchased for top Indian leaders.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its chargesheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received Euro 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.
The agency has some trail and evidence of the illegal money sent overseas or routed from foreign shores to India vis-a-vis this case and Michel is expected to tell the investigators about the entire flow of money that has happened in at least two bank accounts in Delhi and few accounts linked to a media firm in Delhi, they said. Both the agencies have notified an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
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An investigation launched by Italian authorities into the irregularities in the AgustaWestland deal in 2014 indicted Christian Michel James for global bribery and corruption. Former Air Force chief SP Tyagi was also arrested over the allegations of reducing the flying ceiling of the helicopter to put AgustaWestland in the race.
A charge sheet was filed against him in September previous year. Even before Michel, his father had also been a consultant of AgustaWestland, UK for the Indian Territory.
They have been charge-sheeted for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC in the case relating to alleged bribery of Rs 450 crore. Michel also allegedly paid off influential people in India, who helped reject Russian and American choppers.
He would be brought to India late tonight and would be produced before a special CBI court in New Delhi to face criminal proceedings in the case.
Sources said that Michel had entered into as many as 12 contracts through his two firms, with Finmeccannica, AgustaWestland and Westland helicopters to legitimise the illicit commission on procurement of the VVIP choppers.