In a development that is likely to bring trouble for the Congress ahead of the 2019 elections and may bulldoze its offensive against the Rafale deal, a court in the United Arab Emirates has ordered the extradition of Christian Michel, a key accused in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland choppers scam, to India.
Michel, reports said, was given around Rs 350 crore by AgustaWestland to bribe Indian politicians and get the company a deal from the government.
According to a report in The Pioneer in 2013, which cites Italian newspaper ‘Lettera 43’, Michel’s late father was “close to the Congress party”. Guido Ralph Haschke, the second middleman in the deal, was the Director of a real estate firm owned by relatives of Kanishka Singh, who is associated with a Congress high-up.
A chargesheet related to this case, filed in an Italian court, talks about a “family” getting around Rs 200 crore as kickback from the manufacturer.
The deal was signed in 2007 for the purchase of 12 luxury helicopters for use by top leaders, including the President, Prime Minister and senior ministers. The contract was cancelled in 2014 after allegations of corruption.
In the past, former chief of the Indian Air Force, S P Tyagi, has been for his alleged involvement in the scam. Last week, Delhi's Patiala House Court granted bail to Tyagi and others as accused in the case.
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