Christian Michel Extradited To New Delhi In AgustaWestland Helicopter Deal Case

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New Delhi: In a move that many see as a significant win for the Indian government, the alleged middleman and British businessman Christian James Michel, 57, in the multimillion-dollar AgustaWestland helicopter deal was extradited to New Delhi from Dubai.

The extradition coincides with a visit to the UAE by India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. Both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have filed cases against him. Michel landed in a chartered flights along with Indian officials at 11:05pm at the IGI Airport.

The move is even more significant because Michel is a British national being extradited to India from Dubai. The extradition was anticipated as Dubai’s highest court on November 19 approved India’s request to extradite Michel, subject to the move being approved by the UAE’s justice minister. Officials said Swaraj’s presence in Dubai for a meeting of the India-UAE Joint Commission helped push the process.

National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief Anil Dhasmana and India’s ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri, also played key roles, the officials said. Rosemary Patrizi, the lawyer for the businessman declined to comment when she was asked if her client received a fair hearing. “It is difficult to judge…we tried to convince the court but we couldn’t. Now we have to wait,” she said, adding that Michel’s legal team will look at options under Indian law.

Last month, the Dubai Cassation Court effectively ended the legal challenge to Michel’s extradition by upholding an appellate court’s decision to extradite him though he pleaded ‘not guilty’.

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