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Officials in Dubai as India trying to extradite Christian Michel

Officials in Dubai as India trying to extradite Christian MichelNEW DELHI: The government has approached authorities in Dubai for the extradition of Christian Michel, one of the alleged middlemen in the Rs 3,600 – crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case. Michel was detained in Dubai some weeks ago. It is understood that Indian officials met Michel in detention and have engaged counsels in Dubai for the extradition process.

Michel’s lawyers have, however, objected to India’s appeals, arguing that he is a citizen of the UK and Switzerland, and that he is not facing any charges in these two countries. They also claimed that Michel is not facing any charges in Italian courts, which first dealt with the VVIP chopper scam, according to officials familiar with the matter.

Michel has been staying in Dubai for the past five years to avoid arrest by the Italian police, it is understood. Senior officials of both the countries are in regular touch for his extradition to India.

The police in Dubai detained Michel on the basis of a ‘red corner notice’ issued by the Interpol over his alleged role in the VVIP helicopter scam. The scandal rocked India in 2013 when documents and testimonies before an Italian court pointed to Michel’s role in the scandal and his alleged political links here.

Michel’s later father, Woolfgang Michel, was an arms dealer, who was blacklisted by India following some controversial defence deals in mid 1980s. The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate had earlier filed charge sheets against Michel in the bribery case, following which non-bailable warrants were issued against him.

In 2015, a red corner notice was issued against Michel on India’s request. Red corner notices were also issued against two Italians—Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa— who are also alleged to be involved in the scandal.

The UAE over the last few years, and particularly since PM Narendra Modi’s first visit there in 2015, has emerged as a key security partner of India in the Gulf region.

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