India Fails To Produce Evidence In AgustaWestland Chopper Case
British national James Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam. The Indian government has asked Britain to extradite Michel. Indian authorities have failed to produce any evidence in the UAE courts within the allotted time as per told by the lawyer of the accused. The Indian Government was supposed to produce evidence in UAE court against Michel by 19th May’ 2018.
Michel’s lawyer, Rosemary Patrizi Dos Anjos told the sources, “But the government did not present any evidence.” She also added, “The government does not have any evidence against him, no evidence against Michel in Italy, Switzerland or India.” And that is why the authorities were unable to provide any proof against him.
The Indian government was given a further time of 45 days by the UAE court until the next hearing to produce evidence and 30 days have already passed without any big movement. Michel was the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were commenting on the case.
The ED requested the UAE authorities for extraditing Michel. Both the ED and the CBI had filed charge sheets in the bribery cases in Indian courts. And then, non-bailable warrants had been issued against the accused.
On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over an alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore for securing the deal.
It was alleged that the three middlemen, Gerosa, Guido Haschke and Christian Michel, “managed to” make inroads into the IAF in order to influence and subvert its stand regarding reducing the service ceiling of helicopters from 6,000 m to 4,500 m in 2005 after which AgustaWestland became eligible to supply a dozen helicopters for VVIP flying duties.
The ED and the CBI had also issued Letters Rogatory to multiple countries to gather more leads and evidence in this case.
Letters Rogatory are requests issued by courts on the request of an investigation agency when it wants information from another country.