Extradited To India, AgustaWestland Middleman Christian Michel To Be Produced In Court: LIVE UPDATES

General News

All eyes on Wednesday are firmly on Christian Michel, the AgustaWestland middleman who was finally and sensationally extradited to India from the UAE, landing in New Delhi on Tuesday night. 

Written By Ankit Prasad | Mumbai | Updated On:

Update at 8:23 PM: Aljo k Joseph has been expelled from the Indian Youth Congress.

Aljo K Joseph appeared in his personal capacity. He did not consult the Youth Congress before appearing in the case. IYC does NOT endorse such actions. IYC has removed Aljo Joseph from IYC’s Legal Department and expelled him from the party with immediate effect: Indian Youth Congress

Update at 5:51 PM: Govt Sources: We are ready to provide consular access to UK High Commission for Christian Michel. We have no objections. Yet until now UK High Commission has not approached the MEA for the same. Due process will have to be followed and CBI will have no objections.

Govt Sources: CBI has formally informed the family members of Christian Michel about the extradition to India from UAE.

Update at 5:38 PM: Lawyer of Christian Michel, Aljo K Joseph meets Congress General Secretary Deepak Babaria at Congress Headquarters, Delhi.

Update at 5:09 PM: CONTROVERSY: Christian Michel's lawyer is Congress youth wing legal head, cites BJP

Update at 5:00 PM: Rahul Gandhi has reacted to the extradition of Christian Michel and said: "Congress has already made its position very clear in this matter, the PM should explain why he gave Rs 30,000 crores on Rafale to Anil Ambani."

Update at 4:48 PM: Court has granted permission to Michel to meet his lawyer everyday for one hour. "He is not aware of Indian law Hence I want to meet him daily", lawyer of Michel

Update at 4:42 PM: CBI granted 5 days custody of Christian Michel

Update at 4:40 PM: CBI seeks his CBI custody for 14 days to unearth the conspiracy, whereas Christian Michel counsel opposes it.
CBI says 'Augusta money transferred in two accounts based in Dubai amounting to 37 million euros (Rs 300 crores). Need to know where and to who the money went to in India. Hence need police custody.'

Update at 4:34 PM: Michel's counsel opposes police custody. Asks for judicial custody. CBI counsel days they want to confront Michel with other accused

Update at 4:32 PM: Christian Michel moves bail application. Advocate Alko K Joseph is appearing for him

Update at 4:13 PM: 'We have brought someone from abroad. He may reveal some names. Congress is worried' - PM Modi in Dausa, Rajasthan

Update at 4:09 PM: Republic TV confronts Christian Michel during his transit from CBI HQ to the Patiala House court:

Update at 4:00 PM: Christian Michel moved from CBI HQ to Delhi's Patiala House court

Update at 3:23 PM: Michel to be taken to Patiala House Court where security has been heightened

Update at 1:59 PM: As per sources, as of now Michel has been questioned about the trips he made to India and details of the meeting that took place with the Indian counterparts. Once he is remanded to CBI custody, he will be confronted with documentary evidence and other accused in the case.

Update at 1:34 PM:  WATCH: The Full Christian Michel Extradition Video

Update at 1:15 PM: Christian Michel to reach court by 2:30 PM as per court sources

Update at 12:48 PM: PM Modi on the extradition of Christian Michel - 

"I told all of you about AgustaWestland  VVIP helicopter. They (Congress) wanted to suppress the matter... 

We caught one middleman. He wanted to make the friends of Naamdar happy. Now this middleman will tell everything and God knows how many things will come out from bag.

Chaiwala is with you my people , we caught all the corrupt people . Your vote has made it happen. If a Chaiwala is standing rock solid in front of these dynasts, then it because of your vote only.

WATCH | PM Modi Breaks Silence On Christian Michel's Extradition, Speaks About What Agusta Middleman May Reveal

Update at 12:17 PM: As per sources, no decision hasn't been taken yet on whether Christian Michel will be made an approver. Michel continues to maintain that the extradition wasn't done in a legal manner, citing that the Dubai government didn't account for his acquittal by Italian courts. He maintains he's being coerced to take the names of political leaders. 

ED will interrogate him after CBI. An application towards this hasn't yet been filed. The ED will also seek his custody.

Update at 11:50 AM: As per sources, Christian Michel has been examined and confronted with documents recovered during raids by Swiss Authorities and received by CBI through LRS indicating the bribes paid by him to Indian Authorities.

The note which was given to the Italian court mentioned initials like FAM and AP next to what looked like sums of money. CBI is questioning Michel as to who these people are and what these initials stand for.

Update at 11:27 AM: Christian Michel to be produced before Special CBI judge Arvind Kumar. Delhi police and CRPF personnel deployed right outside the courtroom as a security measure

Update at 11:25 AM: 

Amit Shah, while addressing a press conference in Jaipur, spoke on the Opposition's reaction to the extradition of Christian Michel saying, "Let opposition say anything. Michel was a middleman (in the AgustaWestland case). We caught him. Opposition wants to save him?"

He also spoke about Vijay Mallya's offer to the banks to repay his loan. "If Mallya is ready, then he should repay the loan,.What should I say?"

Update at 11:10 AM: Christian Michel to be produced in person shortly after 2 PM at Patiala House Court

Update at 10:38 AM: Christian Michel's legal team, including Rosemary Patrici, are expected to travel to India soon. Michel's India lawyer is yet to be appointed. Michel is citing extradition conditions, including his rights as a British citizen

Update at 10:06 AM: CBI likely to seek 15 days custody of Michel. The agency has also spoken to Tihar Jail officials to make arrangements for a special cell where he will be lodged after his police custody is over

Update at 10:01 AM: CBI starts questioning Christian Michel again. A remand copy is being prepared based on which CBI will seek Michel’s custody. A meeting is underway in CBI to decide if Christian Michel should be produced physically before the Patiala House Court or Magistrate should be called inside the CBI HQ.

Update at 9:52 AM: As per sources, CBI officials will meet special public prosecutor DP Singh shortly. Officials, along with the legal team being headed by DP Singh, will strategise Christian Michel’s appearance before Patiala House court. The CBI is likely to move an application before the Patiala House court seeking permission to produce Michel through video conferencing citing “security concerns”. CBI will seek custodial interrogation of Michel citing the following reasons -

  • CBI‘s custodial interrogation is required to determine the involvement of other main accused in the AgustaWestland scam
  • Michel is aware of the complete chain of events that occurred during the AgustaWestland scam
  • CBI to tell the court that custodial interrogation of Christian Michel is required to determine the larger conspiracy in the AgustaWestland scam

Update at 9:37 AM: As per sources, a meeting will be held at CBI headquarters to discuss the strategy for producing Christian Michel in court -- whether by camera or physically, or otherwise

Updates before this, including the reaction of a spooked Vijay Mallya, here.

All eyes on Wednesday are firmly on Christian Michel, the AgustaWestland middleman, who was finally and sensationally extradited to India from the UAE landing in New Delhi on Tuesday night. 

Michel was taken to AIIMS following his arrival, for a medical check-up, as he had complained about being 'giddy'. After this he was transported to the CBI's headquarters in the national capital amid heavy security. Republic TV managed to pose questions to him as he was being brought in, which he acknowledged though his response was inaudible. 

WATCH: Republic TV Confronts Christian Michel As He Is Brought In At CBI Headquarters In New Delhi

Christian Michel is likely to be produced in court on Wednesday. As per sources, he may not be physically brought there for security reasons, being produced remotely via in-camera proceedings. 

The CBI had on Tuesday evening issued a statement, hours after Republic TV first broke news of Michel being extradited, stating that the development had taken place under the guidance of NSA Ajit Doval, Director Incharge of CBI Nageswara Rao and CBI Joint Director Sai Manohar.

The statement added the following about Christian Michel's activities:

Christian Michel James is described as a historical consultant of AgustaWestland/Westland Helicopters, UK with technical operational knowledge of the aircraft, the military bases and the pilots. Christian Michel James worked with Westland Helicopters Limited (WHL), UK since the 1980s. Even before Christian Michel James, his father had also been a consultant of AgustaWestland, the UK for the Indian Territory. 

Christian Michel James was a frequent visitor to India and was operating as a middleman for defence procurements through a wide network of sources cultivated in the IAF and MoD at different levels including retired and serving IAF Officials. He was tracking the movements of the procurement process files and was sending periodical reports/despatches on the developments to the accused persons connected with AgustaWestland. In this process, he shared the information collected from IAF and MoD with his associate(s), who used to transmit the despatches through FAX to the other counterparts sitting abroad in Italy and Switzerland. In an aforesaid manner, he was updating/informing the management of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland namely Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini and others about his efforts in India for securing supply contract of VVIP Helicopters. 

Involvement of Mr Christian Michel James in the purchase of VVIP helicopter by Government of India had surfaced in the year 2012 as middlemen for swinging the deal in favour of AgustaWestland and making illegal payment of commission/kickbacks to the Indian Authorities. Initially, the investigation conducted by Italian Authorities indicted him for offenses of international bribery/corruption. CBI took up the investigation and wanted him for investigation. However, he escaped from India and has been deliberately evading his presence from the investigating agency and also the due process of law in India. Hence, an open non-bailable arrest warrant dated 24.09.2015 was issued by the Special Judge, CBI Cases, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi.

Citing an Interpol Red Notice, the statement provided details of his extradition:

The fugitive criminal, Christian Michel James was arrested by UAE authorities in February 2017 on the strength of above INTERPOL Red Notice. CBI filed Charge sheet in the court on 01.09.2017 against the fugitive criminal Christian Michel James and 11 other accused persons. The trial court took cognizance of the offenses on 11.10.2017. CBI’s request for extradition was forwarded to the UAE authorities on 19.03.2017 through diplomatic channels. Extradition Proceedings were held before UAE Court against Christian Michel James on the extradition request of CBI. Vide order dated 19.11.2018, the Court of Dubai upheld the lower court decision for the possibility of extraditing Christian Michel James to Indian Authorities. Accordingly, the fugitive criminal Christian Michel James is extradited to face the legal proceedings. 

EXCLUSIVE: Republic TV Accesses India-bound AgustaWestland Middleman Christian Michel's Dubai Prosecution Files. Read Here

The CBI also detailed his role in the AgustaWestland case:

i. Christian Michel James entered into criminal conspiracy with co-accused persons and in pursuance thereof, the public servants had abused their official positions by reduction of service ceiling of the VVIPs helicopter from 6000 metres to 4500 metres and a contract for an amount of Euro 556.262 million was awarded to AgustaWestland International Ltd (AWIL), UK by the Government of India through Ministry of Defence on 08.02.2010 for the procurement of 12 VVIP/non VVIP helicopters.

ii. Keeping his proven expertise and experience in India,Christian Michel James was imposed as a controller on the other two middlemen namely Ralph Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa (already roped in by AgustaWestland) as they had no specific knowledge in the specific sector of helicopters. Renzo Lunardi, the then Commercial Manager, AgustaWestland proposed his appointment to which Giuseppe Orsi, CEO AgustaWestland (during 2005-2011) agreed.

iii. A meeting was held in Cascina Costa, Italy during July, 2006 and Lunardi in the presence of Orsi proposed that Christian Michel James will join Ralph Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa in carrying out scouting and monitoring activities with regard to the acquisition of helicopters in India, keeping in view of his knowledge of Indian military operational mechanism. During the above meeting, they had negotiated comprehensive fees equal to 7% of the supply contract amount to cover the expenses and fees of both of them.

iv. Christian Michel James entered into as many as 12 contracts through two of his from firms namely Global Trade & Commerce Ltd. London and Global Services FZE, Dubai, UAE with Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, Westland Helicopters UK etc. to legitimize the illicit commission on the Procurement of VVIP Helicopters by Ministry of Defence, India. An amount of Euro 42.27million (Rs. 295.00 Crore approx.) was paid by the Finmeccanica Group to the firms of Christian Michel James as kickbacks/bribe without undertaking any work against the receipt of such amount.

v. Christian Michel James will be examined with respect to his involvement in the case and confronted with documents recovered during raids by Swiss Authorities and received by CBI through LRs indicating the bribes paid by Christian Michel James to the Indian Authorities for securing the contract for the supply of VVIP Helicopters from AgustaWestland

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