New Delhi: A Delhi Court on Saturday sent Agusta Westland chopper deal 'middleman' Christian Michel to seven-day custody of Enforcement Directorate (ED).

In this matter Indian Air Force had floated a proposal in 1999 for acquisition of 12 VVIP helicopters to ferry top Government functionaries. 

The contract was granted to AgustaWestland in 2010 for over Rs 3,600 crore. 

It was alleged that technical specifications had been tweaked including lowering of the service ceiling of the helicopter from 6,000 metre to 4,500 metre to help AgustaWestland win the bid for which bribes were allegedly paid.

CBI has registered an FIR on March 14, 2013 and named Former Indian Air Force Chief SP Tyagi and 12 other individuals as an accused apart from four companies. Beside Tyagi family three Middlemen Michel, Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke were included as an accused in this case.

Michel was among the alleged middlemen who had brokered the 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.

Directorate of Enforcement also began investigations in this matter under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act after the FIR of CBI.

CBI has alleged in this matter that Euro 42.27 million was paid by the Finmeccanica Group to the Firms of Christian Michel James as kickbacks or bribe without undertaking any work against the receipt of such amount.

It is further alleged in the matter that while Gerosa and Haschke paid off members of the Tyagi family Michel was dealing with Ministry of Defence Bureaucrats and Politicians. So Indian Agencies were chasing Michel in this case. 

CBI took up the investigation in the matter and wanted Michel for investigation but he was deliberately evading his presence from the Investigating Agency and his presence was become possible after six years of his alleged involvement in the purchase of VVIP helicopters first surfaced in 2012.

Special CBI Judge had issued non bailable warrant of arrest against Michel on September 24, 2015 and on the basis of the non bailable warrant of arrest Interpol put out a Red corner Notice on November 25, 2015 against him and at last he was finally arrested by the UAE authorities in February 2017.

CBI had filed a chargesheet in the court after Investigation on September 1, 2017 against Michel and 11 others and a request for extradition of Michel was forwarded to the UAE Authorities on March 19, 2017.

A Court of Dubai on November 19, 2018 upheld the decision for possibility of extradition of Michel to the Indian Authorities for facing legal proceedings against him and at last he was brought India.

CBI had alleged in the matter that Michel had entered into as many as 12 contracts through two of his Firms namely, Global Trade & Commerce Ltd. London and Global Services FZE, Dubai, UAE with Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, Westland Helicopters UK to legitimise the illicit commission.

Directorate of Enforcement today sought from the court fifteen days custodial interrogation of Christian Michel, the alleged Middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore Agusta Westland chopper case.

Directorate of Enforcement today submitted before the court that custodial interrogation of Michael is required for Money Laundering case filed against the accused.

CBI Special Judge Arvind Kumar today after hearing earlier permit Directorate of Enforcement to interrogation of Michael for 15 minutes in the court room.

Counsel for ED submitted before the court that there was a gap in the money trial being Investigating by ED and CBI because both are two different Investigating Agencies and impossible to have a joint investigation in the ambit of law. Counsel for ED further submitted before the court that money in the matter has been used and came through Hawala channel and not through official channel. So for Investigating this aspect ED needs to confront the accused.

CBI has earlier opposed the bail application of Michel by submitting before the court that Investigation is at the crucial stage and he might flee as he had already tried to escape from Dubai just before his extradition.

CBI Special Judge Arvind Kumar after hearing the final submission dismissed the bail application of Michel and ordered seven days ED custody of Michel.