British High Commission granted consular access to Christian Michel

Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case. (File/Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

The British High Commission in India Friday was granted the consular access to Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

"Consular access has been granted to Michel," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

"Our staff are supporting a British man who is detained in India, and have visited him to check his welfare," ANI quoted the High Commission as saying.

Michel, a British citizen, was brought to India through the extradition process from the UAE on court orders. The British High Commission had then sought for consular access to Michel, who was sent to CBI custody.

Michel was questioned by the agency about his ties with the former CEO and president of AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica, his visits to India, the people he met and his contacts in Delhi and Mumbai.

The CBI claims that Michel entered into 12 contracts through two of his firms, Global Trade & Commerce Ltd, London and Global Services FZE, Dubai, UAE, with Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland and Westland Helicopters UK to legitimise the "illicit commission on the procurement of VVIP Helicopters by Ministry of Defence".

An amount of 42.27million euros (then around Rs 295 crore) was paid by the Finmeccanica Group to Michel's firms as kickbacks/bribe without undertaking any work against the receipt of the amount, the CBI said.