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VVIP Chopper Case: UK High Commission Seeks ‘Urgent’ Consular Access to Christian Michel

While the British high commission said it contacted the Indian government for more information, official Indian sources claimed no request has been received as of now.

New Delhi: The UK has “urgently” sought information, including consular access, about British businessman Christian Michel, who was extradited to India by United Arab Emirates in connection with an alleged bribery scam over the purchase of AgustaWestland VVIP helicopters.

Michel was brought to Delhi on Tuesday night after the UAE’s court of cassation upheld a previous lower court judgment that Michel could be extradited, despite being a foreign national.

The British high commission in India issued a statement on Wednesday that they have contacted the Indian government for more information about 54-year-old Michel.

“Our staff continue to support the family of a British man following his detention in the UAE. We are in contact with his family and the Emirati authorities regarding his case, and are urgently seeking information from the Indian authorities on his circumstances,” said UK High commission spokesperson Sally Hedley.

She added that UK high commission’s move to seek information also “includes asking for consular access”.

However, Indian official sources claimed that no request has been received from the UK till now.

After being produced before a Delhi court on Wednesday, Michel was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation for five days’ custody.

As per the Enforcement Directorate’s 2016 chargesheet, Michel was accused of receiving around Rs 225 crore from Italian firm AgustaWestland, which was then allegedly channelled into ‘kickbacks’ to secure the deal.

The UPA government had cancelled the contract for supply of 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force for contractual violations and payment of bribes on January 1, 2014.

The CBI had alleged that the AgustaWestland deal led to a loss of about Rs 2,600 crore to the exchequer.

The charge-sheet also names former Indian Air Force chief S.P. Tyagi, his cousin, Sanjeev Tyagi, retired Air Marshal J.S. Gujral, lawyer Gautam Khaitan, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini, former Finmeccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi and two other alleged middlemen, Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

 

Courtesy : The Wire

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