National

AgustaWestland Chopper Scam: 'Middleman' Christian Michel sent to five-day CBI custody

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Court on Wednesday sent Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, to five-day CBI custody.
"The investigation is going on, we need his (Christian Michel) custody as money was transferred in two Dubai based accounts," said the agency. "We need his police custody to confront him with some important documents," CBI Counsel Advocate DP Singh said before the CBI Special Court.
After the court's decision, government sources said that the Centre is ready to "provide consular access to UK High Commission for Christian Michel."
"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," news agency  quoted government as saying.
"Our staff continue to support family of a British man following his detention in UAE. We're in contact with his family and Emirati authorities regarding his case and are urgently seeking info from Indian authorities on his circumstances,' said British High Commission. 
On Wednesday, security was tightened at the Patiala House court complex where Michel was produced. He was brought to India late on Tuesday night following his extradition by the UAE in connection with the case.
Around 15-20 personnel of the CRPF and 30 Delhi Police officials were deputed in the court complex as well as outside several of its gates, said one of the police officials. The police force, included the presence of women officials.
Michel, 54, landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on a Gulfstream jet at 10.35 pm on Tuesday night after which he was arrested by the CBI in connection with the case.
Meanwhile, Michel has moved a bail plea. Court kept this bail plea pending for next hearing. The court also allowed his counsel one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening for consultancy.
The extradition comes as a major boost to the Indian agencies investigating the bribery angle in the contract.
In January, the ED had lodged a request with the UAE authorities for extraditing James. Both ED and CBI had filed chargesheets in bribery cases in Indian courts and non-bailable warrants had been issued against the accused. 
Last year, a Red Corner Notice (RCN) was issued against James by the Interpol on a request by the CBI. RCNs were also issued against two Italians Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke for their role in the case.

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