In a massive development towards accountability in the AgustaWestland case, India's request to extradite middleman British businessman Christian Michel has been approved by Dubai's cassation court.
Earlier, a court in Dubai had approved Michel's extradition as part of the probe into irregularities in purchase of helicopters for use by VVIPs in India. The cassation court has upheld the decision.
Michel is in custody, Anjana Bhatia, a Dubai-based criminal lawyer said to Republic TV confirming the development. Republic TV has accessed the court order, which reads as follows:
It was in September that Christian Michel's extradition had initially been ordered. During that hearing, Michel's representation argued that there was no case against him and that he had been acquitted by Italian courts. The Indian side, however, maintained that Michel had been a key player in the AgustaWestland chopper scam.
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.
Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the CBI. Both the agencies have notified an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.