VVIP chopper deal: Court said yes to extradition of Christian Michel, UAE still to take call
The extradition of VVIP chopper scam accused Christian Michel may still be far away as it is now learnt that a UAE court order in this regard was only concerned with whether a foreign national could be extradited to a third country.
Christian Michel is a UK citizen residing in UAE for the past couple of years.
While sources in CBI and ED have confirmed that positive observations by the court regarding extradition of the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland deal has come on September 2, none of the agencies have issued any official statement and admit that they have received no official communication from UAE.
Government sources said the Centre or the Indian embassy has not yet received any official communication from UAE authorities on Michel. However, in the light of the media reports, the Indian mission in UAE has now approached the authorities to obtain facts pertaining to the matter.
It is learnt that local authorities last month posed a question to the UAE court on whether a foreign national can be extradited to a third country. Following this query, the court gave its “opinion” that a foreign national can be extradited. However, it is not a judgment.
“We hope to get him back to India soon. Our case is strong and we are certain that we will get Michel and even his appeals to the UAE Supreme Court would be rejected,” a senior officer involved with the probe said.
On September 2, a UAE court said, “The court has rendered the judgment: It is possible to hand over Christian James Michel to the concerned authorities of India. The Secretary and the circle director informed that the above mentioned body had pronounced the verdict… the body which heard the plea and argument and signed the verdict draft consists of three judges and they are Isa Muhammad Shareef, the head of bench, Rashid Muhammad al-Samiri, a member judge, and Ashraf Muhammad al-Shawadafi, also one of member judges.”
The observation has come in response to extradition requests by CBI and ED, which are probing alleged kickbacks to IAF officers, bureaucrats and politicians. Michel is likely to be a significant catch since he is alleged to be one of the three key middlemen who brokered the deal and was responsible for establishing liaisons with politicians and bureaucrats to swing the deal in favour of the Anglo-Italian company.
The UAE court has rejected all contentions of political vendetta and possible violation of human rights in its order.