December 19, 2018:
On Wednesday, a Delhi Court sent British national Christian Michel James, key accused in ₹3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, to judicial custody till Dec 28.
Michel was extradited by UAE authorities to India earlier this month.
The 54-year-old was produced before Special Judge Arvind Kumar on expiry of his 15-day CBI custody. He has been charge-sheeted and arrested in connection with the case.
Earlier in the day, the court had reserved the order on Michel’s bail petition for Dec 22.
The 54-year-old’s counsel told the court that he was not required for custodial interrogation and no purpose will be served by keeping him further in custody.
A day after his arrival in India, Michel was sent to five-day CBI custody for interrogation which was extended further.
The investigation agency had sought for his remand to “confront him with some important documents” in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case.
Michel’s extradition came six years after his alleged involvement in the purchase of VVIP helicopters first surfaced in 2012.
Michel was among the alleged middlemen who brokered the chopper deal and who, investigators claim, paid bribes to officials and politicians to swing the contract in favour of AgustaWestland, the British arm of Italian firm Finmeccanica.
The CBI has alleged there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million (approximately ₹2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on Feb 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth Euro 556.262 million.