VVIP chopper deal: UAE court 'considering possibility of extraditing Michel' to India

Christian Michel. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team Delhi, India Nov 19, 2018, 06.24 PM (IST)

Dubai has approved India’s request to extradite Christen Michel, who is wanted in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestand VVIP chopper deal case. 

"The Court decided to consider the possibility of extraditing Christian James Michel to Indian competent authorities," the Court order read. 

Michel, a British businessman, is wanted for commercial fraud, bribery and money laundering as part of investigations into the multi-million dollar helicopter purchase deal.

According to WION sources, the Dubai Cassation Court upheld the appellate court’s decision to extradite 54-year-old Michel to the Indian authorities despite having pleaded not guilty.

“The extradition request was lodged by India’s Ministry of External Affairs and it should have been lodged by the Indian Home Ministry,” Michel’s lawyer Abdul Moneim Bin Suwaidan argued before the Dubai Cassation Court.

“As per the Criminal Extradition Accord signed between the UAE and India, the Indian Home Ministry is the authority that should have lodged the request,” the lawyer contended as his client was challenging the extradition decision.

Presiding judge Abdul Aziz Abdullah, on Monday, dismissed Michel’s appeal, upholding the Appeal Court’s to approve the extradition.

India had requested Michel's extradition before the Dubai Public Prosecution last year in February. 

The AgustaWestland deal was signed in 2007 for the purchase of 12 luxury helicopters that would be used to ferry top leaders including the president, the prime minister, and former prime ministers. 

In 2014, the government scrapped the contract amid allegations that AgustaWestland, which was supplying the luxury helicopters, had paid kickbacks in India. 

Former Indian Air Force Chief SP Tyagi was arrested in 2016 over allegations that he had accepted bribes to tailor the specifications of the deal. Tyagi is the first and only air force chief to have been arrested. 

Story highlights

Michel, a British businessman, is wanted for commercial fraud, bribery and money laundering as part of investigations into the multi-million dollar AgustaWestand VVIP chopper deal.