Agusta-Westland scam: Middleman Christian Michel extradited to India

New Delhi:  Absconding British middleman in the 3,600 crore rupee Agusta-Westland VVIP chopper scam, Christian Michel has been extradited to India from the UAE.

Michel was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi last night. He was being questioned by the probe agency through the night and will be produced before a local court today.

Michel’s extradition took place under the guidance of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, sources said.

His extradition came hours after Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj held discussions with her UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the CBI said.

The AgustaWestland helicopter deal, which snowballed into a huge controversy, relates to an agreement that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government signed with the British-Italian firm in 2007.

The controversial deal involves purchasing of 12 luxury helicopters for use by the President, Prime Minister, former prime ministers and other VVIPs.

In 2014, the government scrapped the contract amid allegations that AgustaWestland, whose parent company Finmeccanica faced charges of bribery in Italy, had paid kickbacks in India.

Michel, who earlier alleged that he is being made a scapegoat by the Modi government due to the upcoming elections, had appealed before the Supreme Court against the lower court order but on November 19, the apex court rejected his appeal and ordered his extradition.

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