VVIP CHOPPER BRIBERY CASE UK Consular Access to Michel ‘Only After CBI Concludes Process’
Christian Michel, extradited by the UAE to India this week, is a British national
New Delhi: India has no immediate plans to grant the United Kingdom consular access to Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal, despite a request by the British High Commission.
ET has learnt that consular access to the British High Commission will be provided only after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) concludes necessary procedure and interrogation of the British national who was extradited from the United Arab Emirates to India this week.
TheUKwasinformedbeforeMichel was extradited to India owing to his alleged connection to the ₹ 3,600-crore chopper deal scam, said people aware of the matter. They said consular accesscanonlybegrantedwhenMichel is in judicial custody. Currently, he is in the CBI’s custody.
The British High Commission had sought consular access to Michel on Wednesday. A day later, the external affairs ministry said that it was looking into an appeal by the high commission. “We have received a request from the UK High Commission seeking consular access. The matter at this point of time is being examined within the ministry,” the ministry’s spokesman Raveesh Kumar told media persons on Thursday.
Asked about Michel’s extradition, Kumar said the ministry had received two requests from the CBI and theEnforcementDirectorateandthat the requests were forwarded by the Indian Mission to the UAE authorities. “After following due process and exhaustion of judicial process, Christian Michel was extradited to India. The matter is being handled by CBI,” said Kumar.
On Wednesday, the Patiala House Court had granted the CBI Michel’s custody for five days for further probe in the chopper deal scam. CBI officials said on Thursday that they had asked him to corroborate details about the various contracts that were signed between AgustaWestland and India.
Michel, 57, is being observed by a medical team round-the-clock and is being given normal Indian food according to his nutritional requirements, officials said.