CBI hits a wall as Christian Michel Custody Ends

Augusta Westland Middleman Christian Michel (File Photo)

Christian Michel has been in CBI custody for two weeks and he is being treated as a Five Star guest by the investing agency. He is confined in CBI Guest house Room No. 2

Christian Michel, an alledged middleman in Augusta VVIP Chopper Deal has been staying in CBI guest house and living lavishly. According to sources, he has not opened up to the Central Bureau Investigation.

Michel was extradited from Dubai and according to some media reports he was actually exchangd by Indian government in lieu of UAE princess Sheikh Latifa, daughter of Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Maktoum who had fled from his country and was somewhere in Indian territory.

In a report published in NDTV, top sources confirmed to the channel that the cooperation the CBi was hoping for from the middleman in the 3600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal had not materialised.

After nearly two weeks in CBI custody, Christian Michel remains tight-lipped about his business dealings and who got the benefit of Rs. 500-odd crores allegedly paid in India to help aeronautics company AgustaWestland land the contract for a dozen helicopters for VVIPs during UPA-1. While the CBI has told a court that Michel claimed to be dyslexic, NDTV has learnt that his tactic has been to counter every question by deflecting it to the other middleman being investigated in the case, Guido Haschke.

For the past two weeks, since National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval oversaw the process of his extradition from Dubai, Christian Michel has been staying at room number 2 of the CBI guest house at the headquarters. Mindful of his high profile status, the agency has ensured he’s comfortable and in relative luxury in the suite which has air-conditioning and other facilities.

However, if the CBI thought he would decipher the notes recovered with payments marked against acronyms like “fam” and “AP”, they have been left disappointed.

Sources tell the channel he has denied knowledge of these and said Guido Haschke made those payments. These entries have been in the media glare as the BJP alleged ‘fam’ referred to the Gandhis and ‘AP’ was Sonia Gandhi’s political treasurer Ahmed Patel.

Sources say when the CBI confronted him with payments to various companies made from his accounts, he said he was directed to do so by other companies. All of the CBI team’s top officers, including Joint director Sai Manohar, reportedly tried their luck but failed to get Christian Michel to spill. His lawyers are now moving for his bail application.

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