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

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Di­pan­janRoy.Chaud­hury @times­group.com

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.

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