AgustaWestland Case | Dubai Court Orders Christian Michel's Extradition To India: Here's All You Need To Know About The Scam

General News

In a massive breakthrough in the AgustaWestland chopper scam case, a UAE court has ordered the extradition of middleman Christian Michel to India. As the details of the AgustaWestland chopper gate is being unearthed, here's the full timeline of the scam.

Written By Daamini Sharma | Mumbai | Updated On:

In a massive breakthrough in the AgustaWestland chopper scam case, a UAE court has ordered the extradition of middleman Christian Michel to India. The sources have told Republic TV that the order can't be appealed by any party and that the Indian authorities need to execute the order passed by the Dubai court. As the details of the AgustaWestland chopper gate is being unearthed, here's the full timeline of the scam: 

August 1999: The Indian Air Force (IAF), which is responsible for carrying out VVIP communication duties, proposes replacement of Mi-8 helicopters and a global search for the replacement begins
November 2003: The then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee raises concerns over the single-vendor situation which leads to few recommendations to change some requirements to accommodate more vendors

March 2005: IAF allegedly dilutes requirements in the chopper acquisition, enabling AgustaWestland to complete after recommendations.

September 2006: Manmohan Singh-led PMO raises the requirement of choppers from eight to twelve

January 2010: After years of deliberations and changes in requirements, the Cabinet Committee on Security clears the deal for acquiring 12 VVIP choppers

February 2010: The Ministry of Defence signs the deal with UK's AgustaWestland

February 2012: Allegations of corruption while finalising the deal first surfaced in the Italian media after which the Indian Embassy in Rome was asked to submit a report on the allegations

February 2013: Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of Finmeccanica, the parent firm of AgustaWestland gets arrested by the Italian police

February 2013: The Ministry of Defence begins the process of cancelling the deal and examines holding back the payment to AgustaWestland. It issues a show cause notice to AgustaWestland for breach of contract and integrity pact

February 2013: CBI takes over case formally

February 2013: CBI begins preliminary inquiry against ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi and 11 others

March 2013: CBI files FIR against Tyagi and 12 others on charges of cheating and alleged criminal conspiracy in the VVIP chopper deal

November 2013: The deadline for answering the show cause notice for AgustaWestland was 26 November. The company officials meet Ministry of Defence officials to give their side of the story. Justice BN Srikrishna is roped in as the arbitrator by AgustaWestland

January 2014: UPA government formally scraps the deal with AgustaWestland

September 2014: Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrests Gautam Khaitan on allegations of kickbacks in the 3,600 crore deal

October 2014: An Italian lower court acquits Orsi and former AgustaWestland chairman Bruno Spagnolini

April 2016: A Milan Court of Appeals sentences Orsi to four and half years and Spagnolini to four years in jail on charges of false accounting and bribing Indian officials including Tyagi

April 2016: Christian James Michel, the middleman in the deal says he is willing to face Indian authorities for investigation. Michel writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention. In his letter to Modi, the middleman also offers evidence related to the case of Indian investigating agencies. Michel, however, denies reports of him and his father being close to the Gandhi family

May 2016: Former IAF chief SP Tyagi interrogated for his links with the middleman

December 2016: CBI arrests SP Tyagi for alleged bribery charges and criminal conspiracy, marking the first-ever arrest of a former IAF chief

June 2018: CBI seeks middleman's extradition from Italy

July 2018: Delhi court summons ex-AgustaWestland, Finmeccanica directors

September 2018: A Delhi court on Wednesday granted bail to former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi and his brothers in the AgustaWestland case

September 2018: Dubai Court Orders Extradition Of Christian Michel To India

Read: India Confident About Christian Michel's Extradition, Evidence Present With Public Prosecutor

Earlier on September 2, the defence argued that there was no case against Christian Michel and that the Italian courts had acquitted him. The 3-judge bench heard the arguments put forth by the defence and public prosecutor, appearing on India's behalf. During the hearing, the Indian side maintained that Christian Michel is a key player in the AgustaWestland chopper scam.

The order is being seen as a major shot in the arm to the agencies-- Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED -- probing the case. The 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.

Read: AgustaWestland Case | Dubai Court Orders Extradition Of Christian Michel To India

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