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LONDON: UK foreign office officials have told TOI that the UK govt continues to raise AgustaWestland chopper scam accused British national Christian Michel’s case with India to “underline the importance of making progress to the govt of India.”
“We will continue to do so until his case is resolved,” one official told TOI.
Michel has been detained in Tihar jail since December 2018 when he was extradited to India from Dubai.He previously worked in the UAE as a middleman for a subsidiary of AgustaWestland. He is accused of paying bribes to Indian officials to help AgustaWestland win a deal for 12 helicopters worth euro 556.2 million (Rs 5,011 crore) in February 2010. The ED, in its charge-sheet filed in June 2016, had alleged that Michel received euro 30 million (about Rs 270 crore) from AgustaWestland. As a result of the corruption allegations, India cancelled the contract in 2013.
Michel, however, claims his extradition from Dubai to India was quid pro pro for the handing over by India of Princess Latifa, daughter of Dubai’s ruler, to the Dubai authorities, on March 4, 2018.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last raised Michel’s case with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sept 9 at the New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, UK minister for South Asia, who regularly raises Michel’s case with his Indian counterparts, most recently raised this case with home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Feb 22.
Consular staff at the British high commission in Delhi regularly visit Michel in detention, most recently on March 27, TOI was told. Officials in the Foreign Office are in contact with Michel’s family, and last met them on Nov 30, 2023.
In 2021 Michel began a hunger strike in Tihar Jail, saying this was his only way to get his voice heard. Last week the Supreme Court refused to entertain his bail plea.
A UK govt spokesperson told TOI: “We continue to provide consular assistance to Mr Michel and his family…”
On Nov 27, 2020, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had issued an opinion ruling that Michel was being arbitrarily detained by India and called for his release by May 27, 2021. But India at the time said the opinion was not legally binding.



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