New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has decided to request the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to extradite Christian Michel James, the alleged middleman in the AugustaWestland case.
Michel, who had been named as the middleman facilitating payment of bribes to politicians and business persons, is now being sought by CBI to expedite its investigation in the AugustaWestland chopper deal.
Speaking to Mint, a CBI official, who declined to be identified, said, “We have sent a reply that investigation has prevailed in which Christian Michel James has been identified as the key middleman in the helicopter purchase in the AugustaWestland deal."
Another official said, “CBI has decided to send a request for his extradition to designated central authorities of UAE...This extradition is extremely important to take forward the investigation regarding payment of bribes to bureaucrats and politicians."
Earlier this year, CBI constituted a special investigation team (SIT) under an additional director to probe cases of fraud such as the AugustaWestland deal.
While India had earlier sent Michel’s extradition request to the UK, the Enforcement Directorate confirmed he was based in Dubai, following which CBI started liaising with the UAE for his extradition.
Both CBI and ED are probing the flow of alleged bribes in the Rs3,600-crore AgustaWestland deal. In early 2013, a parliamentary investigation found several politicians and bureaucrats had allegedly accepted bribes to swing the deal for 12 AugustaWestland helicopters.
These bribes were allegedly routed through companies in various countries, including Tunisia, Mauritius and Singapore.