Christian Michel has till October 2 to challenge Dubai extradition decision

AgustaWestland AW101 (Source: PTI)

Christian James Michel, a British middleman wanted in India in connection with the Rs 36-billion AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, has till October 2 to challenge his extradition decision issued by a Dubai court, according to a media report Wednesday.

In a decision dated September 2, the Dubai Court of Appeals had ruled that he can be extradited to the authorities concerned in India. However, the extradition decision has to be approved by the UAE Minister of Justice before its implementation procedures can start, the Khaleej Times reported.

Michel, who is accused of organising bribes in exchange for a contract for VVIP helicopters, has 30 days from the day the decision was issued to appeal it, the report quoted a source as saying.

The Briton is out on bail, while his passport remains seized with the authorities here, the report said.

The ruling follows deliberation by a bench presided over by judge Eissa Mohamed Sherif, with member judges Rashid Mohamed Al Sumairi and Ashraf Mohamed Al Shawadfi. The September 2 decision, however, was pronounced by a different set of judges, it said.

Earlier Wednesday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said it was awaiting confirmation from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on reports about extradition of Michel from the UAE.

The MEA had asked its embassy in the UAE to find out all the details relating to the issue.

Government sources in India said the country has not received any official communication from authorities in the UAE relating to extradition of Michel.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received EUR 30 million (about Rs 2.25 billion) from AgustaWestland.

Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the CBI.

Both the agencies have notified an Interpol red corner notice against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant.

On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 4.23 bn by it for securing the deal.

The CBI has alleged that there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million (approximately Rs 26.66 billion) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth Euro 556.262 million.

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