NEW DELHI: Hours after Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore Agusta Westland chopper deal, was extradited to India, another accused in the case- former Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi-refused to comment on the development and in turn lashed out at the media for confronting him.
Speaking to media on Wednesday, a fuming Tyagi stated, "Who are you to ask me such a question? You can't disturb me like this. Please be respectful while asking such questions."
Tyagi along with his brother was granted bail on September 12 in the AgustaWestland case. Besides the Tyagis, the court had also granted bail to another accused on the same day. The court had granted them bail on a bond of Rs.1 lakh each and the same amount as surety.
Christian Michel, arrived in New Delhi in the wee hours of Wednesday after being extradited to India from Dubai. Michel, who is presently at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters, is likely to be produced before a competent court later today. Furthermore, the CBI is likely to ask the court for extended his custody for the purpose of investigation.
On Tuesday, the CBI had issued a statement saying: "Wanted fugitive criminal Christian Michel James who has been avoiding criminal proceedings in India in AgustaWestland Case is being extradited by UAE Authorities to India. Under the guidance of Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor (NSA), the entire operation is being coordinated by Incharge Director/CBI M. Nageswara Rao. A team lead by A. Sai Manohar, Joint Director/CBI has been to Dubai for the purpose."
According to the CBI, Christian's father Wolfgang Max Richard Michel was also a consultant of AgustaWestland, United Kingdom for the Indian territory in 1980s had reportedly acted as a mediator in other countries too. Wolfgang Michel promoted three companies Entera Corporation, UCM International Trading Limited and Ferro-Imports Limited. Between 1987 and 1996, Entera Corporation reportedly earned more than two million pounds from India.
The CBI further informed that Christain's sister Sasha Ozeman had been in the news for standing by her brother's side and made public statements pertaining to his involvement in the VVIP Chopper deal case.
Christian's extradition, which took place days after a Dubai court rejected his plea against the move, marks a major success for Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who had been pushing for his extradition.
The Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VIP helicopter deal, finalised during the previous government of Manmohan Singh, had got mired in allegations of kickbacks.
According to the Enforcement Directorate charge sheet filed in a court two years back, Michel had received kickbacks to the tune of 30 million Euros from AgustaWestland for the deal involving a purchase of 12 VIP helicopters. The deal, signed in 2007, was scrapped in 2013 following the bribery allegations.
CBI had filed charge sheet in a trial court on September 1, 2017 against Christian and 11 other accused persons. The trial court took cognizance of the offences on October 11, 2017. CBI's request for extradition was forwarded to the UAE authorities on March 19, last year through diplomatic channels.
Extradition proceedings were held before UAE Court against Christian on the extradition request of CBI. Vide order dated November 19, 2018, the Court of Dubai upheld the lower court decision for possibility of extraditing Christian to Indian authorities. Accordingly, Christian was extradited to face legal proceedings.