The CBI is questioning Christian Michel in the Rs. 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal

New Delhi: The CBI custody of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal, has been extended by five days by the special court. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is questioning the British national in the Rs. 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal, had asked for nine days citing "non-cooperation".

The CBI says that the probe seems to be hitting a dead end because of his evasive replies to all queries. "Michel insists on reading all the documents and after spending hours scanning them, he says he does not want to reply," a senior CBI officer told NDTV.

"He has been evasive in giving answers during interrogation," an officer told the court.

Michel's lawyer had opposed the CBI plea for further custody saying the agency has no incriminating evidence against him. A fresh request for his bail has also been filed.

The CBI, however, agreed to provide consular access to the accused. "We have allowed their plea of keeping their own counsel," the judge said. The court has fixed 30 minutes each in morning and evening for his counsel.

Christian Michel had been on the run from Indian authorities in the UAE for more than a year. India had put in an extradition request for Michel in March 2017.

Michel, 54, is one of the three alleged middlemen being investigated over charges of organising bribes for politicians and bureaucrats to push the chopper deal in India when the Congress-led UPA was in power. The deal involved 12 luxury choppers from AgustaWestland.

The CBI, however, is taking good care of the star accused. Sources tell NDTV that Michel loves Indian food. He gets to eat chane ki daal, boiled rice and chappati at the CBI headquaters. 

"He regularly visited India and stayed in Safdarjung Enclave. He loves Indian food and we have been serving him a healthy diet," a senior officer involved in AgustaWestland probe told NDTV.