Agus­tawest­land mid­dle­man Chris­tian Michel ex­tra­dited to In­dia

Asian Journal - - OPINION EDITORIAL -

New Delhi: Chris­tian Michel James, a Bri­tish na­tional and a mid­dle­man, on Tues­day was ex­tra­dited to In­dia, a de­vel­op­ment that comes as a boost to In­dian agen­cies in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Rs 3,600 crore Agus­tawest­land VVIP chop­per deal case.

The Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) took him un­der his cus­tody as soon as he ar­rived at the Indira Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Air­port around 11 p.m. in a spe­cial air­craft. James, 57, was ac­com­pa­nied by some CBI, Re­search and Anal­y­sis Wing (RAW) and Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs of­fi­cials. Af­ter the im­mi­gra­tion pro­ce­dure, he will be taken to the CBI head­quar­ters at south Delhi’s Lodhi Road area. The cen­tral probe agency in a press note said the en­tire ex­tra­di­tion op­er­a­tion was con­ducted un­der the guid­ance of Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor Ajit Do­val and co­or­di­na­tion of in­terim CBI Di­rec­tor M. Nageswara Rao.

A team lead by Joint CBI Di­rec­tor A. Sai Manohar had been to Dubai to ex­tra­dite James, who has been avoid­ing crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings in In­dia in Agus­tawest­land case. The ac­tion comes af­ter the Court of Cas­sa­tion in UAE had in Novem­ber up­held a lower court or­der which said that Michel could be ex­tra­dited to In­dia.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, James was kept un­der de­ten­tion at the Dubai Po­lice’s Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Depart­ment (CID) as per the In­dian gov­ern­ment’s re­quest. The ex­tra­di­tion is un­der­taken in co­or­di­na­tion with the In­ter­pol and the CID.

James is one of three mid­dle­men be­ing probed in the case by the CBI and the En­force­ment Direc­torate (ED) in con­nec­tion with the scam.

In Jan­uary, the ED had lodged a re­quest with the UAE au­thor­i­ties for ex­tra­dit­ing James. Both the ED and the CBI had filed chargesheets in bribery cases in In­dian courts and non-bail­able war­rants had been is­sued against the ac­cused.

Michel James

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