CBI, ED preparing fresh extradition request to UK for Middleman Christian James Michel. Earlier request was turned down by the UK on the basis of incomplete details.
Michel said to have played a crucial role in eliminating M/s Sikorsky from the competition to bag contract for AgustaWestland
Earlier, India’s request to extradite Michel was turned down by the UK on the basis of incomplete details provided by the Indian authorities.
Sources told TOI that this time, a foolproof request will be sent in which details of his visits to India, money trail and his association with other European middlemen Guido Haschke, Carlo Gerosa and AgustaWestland functionaries would be provided.
Michel, against whom an Interpol red corner notice has already been issued, is considered to be the most important person to link the bribery to politicians and bureaucrats. He was said to be living in UAE as well, but sources said that they will send extradition request giving his UK details.
The CBI, in its chargesheet filed last month, has claimed that while final negotiations were going on in the ministry of defence and Indian Air Force for supply of 12 VIP choppers, Michel visited India on more than 25 occasions and had stayed in different hotels — Hotel Ashoka and Claridges at New Delhi and Hotel ITC Windsor in Bengaluru.
Sources, however, told TOI that Michel used to frequently come to India earlier as well. According to the investigators, it is suspected that Michel visited India around 100 times since 1993 and had links in government including the defence ministry and political circles.
The CBI has claimed that he was in possession of secret defence ministry files, including cabinet committee on security (CCS) documents when AgustaWestland’s case was being pushed by IAF
The central probe agency claims that it was Christian Michel who played a crucial role in eliminating M/s Sikorsky from the competition to get contract for supply of VIP choppers.
As reported by TOI, Sikorsky had quoted a price which was approximately 80% less than the rate quoted by AgustaWestland but was still rejected.
The CBI said that “Michel further reported (to AgustaWestland) that he was consciously and deliberately trying to disqualify the competition at that stage itself (trial stage) so that the financial bids of Sikorsky are not opened.” As claimed by Michel, ministry of defence had rejected Sikorsky at trial stage itself.
“As revealed during investigation, Sikorsky was disqualified during field trial and therefore, its unopened commercial bid submitted in February 2007 was returned to the company by ministry of defence,” the CBI said.