New Delhi: In a major development in the VVIP chopper deal case, the key middleman Christian James Michel has written to CBI, saying he is willing to meet with Indian investigating officers in Dubai and has sought the withdrawal of Interpol Red Corner notice against him before the meeting.
This is the first official communication by the middleman in AgustaWestland case to the investigating agency in India.
In the letter to CBI on August 25, the English law firm representing him, said Michel is ready for a meeting at the Indian consulate in Dubai too.
Michel, who has claimed his innocence in the case, said he has some information which could the Indian agencies to progress with their probe into the scandal.
Michel, against whom there exists a non-bailable warrant, said he is reluctant to come to India for the proposed questioning as he fears that a long period of time might elapse, between his questioning here and withdrawal of criminal charges or conclusion of criminal trial, during which he will be detained against his wish.
Subject to certain conditions, Michel has offered to return to India not less than 7 days before the scheduled start of any criminal trial against him and attend every court hearing which he might be required to attend “until his innocence or guilt has been established”.
The conditions for the same are that within two days of the meeting with investigators in Dubai or through video conference, they shall ask Interpol to withdraw the Red Corner Notice against him as long as he sticks to his promise of appearing in court. He also wants that no authority shall arrest or otherwise detain him in relation to this matter until he is found guilty and subsequently sentenced.
Michel had allegedly played a key role in swinging the Rs 3,727-crore deal for AgustaWestland to supply 12 VVIP choppers to India in 2010. AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Italian defence giant Finmeccanica, allegedly paid more than Rs 370 crore as kickbacks to secure the deal.