In an unusual acknowledgement, the CBI on Tuesday night said suspected middleman in AgustaWestland case, Christian Michel, has been extradited to India in an "operation under the guidance" of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
Incidentally, the CBI statement did not have a mention of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who was in the UAE on Tuesday when Michel was extradited. MEA Secretary (Economic Relations) T S Tirumurti said in Abu Dhabi that consular and extradition matters did figure in Sushma's talks with her counterpart.
The CBI statement said a team of CBI escorted Michel to India. He will be produced before a court in the national capital.
Khaleej Times reported that he was brought to India in a private plane and details such as flight timings have not been disclosed due to the "sensitive nature" of the case. After the Court of Cassation ruled against Michel, he was kept under detention at the police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID).3
Also read: Agusta scam back in focus after Michel's extradition
The CBI said the entire operation is being coordinated by in charge Director M Nageswara Rao under the "guidance" of Doval.
The statement said Michel's father was also a consultant of AgustaWestland, in the 1980s and had reportedly acted as a mediator in other countries too. "Wolfgang Michel promoted three companies Entera Corporation, UCM International Trading Limited and Ferro-Imports Limited. Between 1987 and 1996, Entera Corporation reportedly earned more than £2 million from India," it said.
Michel's mother is running a trust in the name of Queda Educational Foundation which is reportedly providing financial assistance to beneficiary students from India to advance their education in foreign countries, it added.
Michel has been described as a "historical consultant" of AgustaWestland with technical operational knowledge of the aircraft, the military bases and pilots. Michel
"Michel was a frequent visitor to India and was operating as a middleman for defence procurements through a wide network of sources cultivated in the IAF and Ministry of Defence (MoD) at different levels including retired and serving IAF Officials. He was tracking the movements of the procurement process files and was sending periodical reports/despatches on the developments to the accused persons connected with M/s AgustaWestland," the statement said.
It said the involvement of Michel in the purchase of VVIP helicopter had surfaced in 2012 as a middleman. "Initially, the investigation conducted by Italian authorities indicted him for offences of international bribery/corruption," it said.