British national and alleged middleman Christian Michel might be extradited to India. He is alleged to be involved in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP choppers deal case, official sources said late on Tuesday, September 18.
Michel was detained in UAE this June and was given bail in the following month. India had sought his extradition as he had allegedly organised bribes in exchange for a 2007 contract for VVIP helicopters. The choppers were for use by the country's prime minister, the president as well as other top leaders.
AgustaWestland had won a deal to supply 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to ferry VVIP passengers. India, however, cancelled the deal in 2014 amid reports of bribery and money laundering.
The Enforcement Directorate charged as many as 34 Indians and foreign nationals in the case in July this year.
According to a PTI report, the court ordered Michel's extradition after India made an official request to the Gulf country. Both the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate are probing his link in the multi-crore scam.
According to the Hindustan Times, the investigation agencies have also found that two other middlemen had helped AgustaWestland win the deal by allegedly working with top bureaucrats.
Sources said that the ED had also brought on record, in the chargesheet, that the three middlemen "managed to" get the Indian Air Force to influence the stand of the officials into reducing the service ceiling of the helicopters from 6,000 metre to 4,500 metre in 2005.
The company AgustaWestland apparently became eligible to supply the choppers after the reduction in the service ceiling.
In September last year, the CBI had filed a charge sheet against former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi and eight others in the case.