#AgustaWestlandScam: Alleged middleman Christian Michel sent to 5-days police custody
Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in AgustaWestland scam, was sent to five-day police custody by a Delhi court on Monday. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had sought nine days extension for interrogation saying Michel wasn't cooperating. Michel, a British national, was extradited from Dubai last week, an operation which was overlooked by NSA Ajit Doval. Here's more on this.
Backstory: It is alleged Michel paid bribes to politicians, others
Michel is accused of bribing politicians, officials, and journalists, to swing the deal for 12 VVIP helicopters in AgustaWestland's favor. Co-conspirators, allegedly including former-IAF Chief SP Tyagi, managed to reduce the service ceiling of the helicopters from 6,000 meters to 4,500 meters. This made AgustaWestland eligible for the contract and on February 8, 2010 the company was paid €556.262 million for the same.
Inside court, CBI sought extension, Michel's lawyer opposed
Inside the court, CBI told the bench they need more time to confront Michel with documents. Michel's lawyer Aljo Joseph objected to this demand and claimed there wasn't any evidence to prove his role. Joseph said an email has been sent to British High Commission regarding Michel's treatment in custody. The CBI replied by saying all human rights aspects are being considered.
CBI has moved plea to get Michel's handwriting
The premier investigating agency told the court that it has moved an application to take Michel's handwriting specimen. The court will hear the plea on Tuesday. The CBI also said British Council has approached them for consular access to Michel.
Meanwhile, BJP targeted Congress, accused it of corruption
Meanwhile, Michel's extradition has garnered attention in politics, more so after a youth leader of Congress appeared as his lawyer. Addressing a press conference, BJP's Sambit Swaraj accused the Opposition and Rahul Gandhi of corruption and said Congress was defending Michel when he was being brought here. "Rahul Gandhi is the new Ali Baba (a reference to 'Ali Baba and 40 thieves')", said Patra.