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AgustaWestland deal: Christian Michel extradited to India, produced in CBI court

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AgustaWestland Deal

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The alleged middleman in Rs.3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal, Christian Michel, was extradited to India late night on Tuesday, Dec 4 and produced in a CBI court today after questioning in CBI headquarters.

The extradition procedure followed External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s discussions with UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi. The move is seen as significant because Michel is a British national being extradited to India from Dubai.

The extradition operation code-named ‘Unicorn’, the CBI said, was carried out under the ‘guidance’ of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and being coordinated by interim agency Director M Nageswar Rao. Both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have filed cases against him.

Michel was taken to CBI headquarters following a medical checkup after being brought to India. He reached the CBI headquarters at 1:38am, reported The Hindustan Times (HT).

“Christian Michel James will be examined with respect to his involvement in the case and confronted with documents recovered during raids by Swiss Authorities and received by CBI through LRs indicating the bribes paid by Mr Christian Michel James to the Indian authorities for securing the contract for supply of VVIP helicopters from M/s AgustaWestland,” CBI said in a statement.

The AgustaWestland case involves the deal to purchase 12 luxury helicopters for use by the President, Prime Minister, former prime ministers and other VIPs, when Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led coalition was in power. The government scrapped the contract in 2014 amid allegations that AgustaWestland, whose parent company Finmeccanica faced charges of bribery in Italy, had paid kickbacks in India.

Michel’s alleged involvement in the purchase of VVIP helicopters first surfaced in 2012. He was alleged to have entered into a criminal conspiracy with co-accused including the then IAF chief SP Tyagi and his family members, and government officials all of whom had abused their official positions by reducing the service ceiling of the VVIPs helicopter from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres.

The CBI has alleged there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million (approximately Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth Euro 556.262 million.

Michel is one of the three middlemen being examined in the case, along with Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

Michel is wanted for commercial fraud, bribery and money laundering in connection with the deal. The Enforcement Directorate has accused Michel of receiving 30 million Euros (about Rs. 225 crore) from AgustaWestland as kickbacks.

The ED investigation found that remittances made by Michel through his Dubai-based firm Global Services to a media firm he floated in Delhi, along with two Indians, were made from the funds which he got from AgustaWestland through “criminal activity” and corruption being done in the chopper deal that led to the subsequent generation of proceeds of crime.

Michel has refuted the allegations.

Michel was arrested in the UAE last year on the basis of an Interpol notice and was out on bail.

In July, Michel’s lawyer alleged that he was being pressured by Indian agencies to frame Congress leader Sonia Gandhi in return for amnesty from criminal proceedings.

On August 26, UAE had asked a court on the possibility of extraditing a British national to a third country. The court said a few days later that extradition is possible.

On November 19. Dubai’s highest court approved India’s request to extradite Michel, subject to the move being approved by the UAE’s justice minister. On Monday, the Dubai government passed an administrative order to enable Michel’s extradition.

Officials said Swaraj’s presence in Dubai for a meeting of the India-UAE Joint Commission helped push the process.

Last month, the Dubai Cassation Court effectively ended the legal challenge to Michel’s extradition by upholding an appellate court’s decision to extradite him though he pleaded ‘not guilty’.

Alleged irregularities in the AgustaWestland deal were repeatedly raised by the Bharatiya Janata Party during its successful 2014 general elections campaign. Michel’s extradition comes at a time when the Opposition has been targeting the government over a deal for the purchase of Rafale combat aircraft.

The BJP said the extradition in the case from the UPA era is a diplomatic victory for India and could spell “serious trouble” for the Congress’s “first family”, referring to Gandhis while at the same time asserting that the development was an unequivocal affirmation of the Narendra Modi government’s seriousness in fighting corruption.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

India News

VIRAL: Elephant Jeymalyatha brutally beaten up by mahouts in Tamil Nadu, Peta India demands action

Reports said the elephant was tortured by mahouts at the Sribilliputhur Nachiyar Thirukovil temple.

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Elephant Jeymalyatha

In an animal-cruelty incident, an elephant named Jeymalyatha was brutally beaten up by mahouts in Tamil Nadu. The video of the incident is viral and has triggered massive outrage on social media.

Reports said the elephant was tortured by mahouts at the Sribilliputhur Nachiyar Thirukovil temple.

PETA India shared the video on Twitter and demanded stringent action against the mahouts. In the video, Jeymalyatha could be seen crying in pain as the mahouts continuously kept thrashing her with sticks. PETA India has sent an urgent appeal to the chief wildlife wardens of Assam and Tamil Nadu and demanded the enforcement of the Wild Life (Protection) Act (WPA), 1972, by filling a preliminary offence report under Section 51 against mahouts involved and under Section 48 against the Srivilliputhur Nachiyar Thirukovil temple.

The organisation also demanded to seize the abused elephant and rehabilitate her at a sanctuary.

Watch the viral video here:

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India News

Tickets? UP Police constables beat up TT on Gorakhdham Express in Kanpur | WATCH

The constables hit him on the head due to which his shirt was soaked in blood.

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UP Police constables beat up TT in Gorakhdham Express

In a shocking incident, the railway head TT was beaten up by two Uttar Pradesh police constables at Kanpur Central Railway Station. According to the reports, the constables were travelling without a ticket on a train from Gorakhpur to Bhatinda, and when the TT asked them to get off the train, they thrashed him fiercely. The incident took place at around 11:30 pm on the Gorakhdham Express on Tuesday.

TT Rambaran, who was on duty, took the train from Lucknow. On Twitter, Aditya Tiwari shared the video of TT narrating the whole incident. He said when he asked for the ticket, the constables said they would get down at Kanpur. After that, when he asked them to step down from the train at the Kanpur station, police constables beat him brutally.

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TT Rambaran also said the constables even tried to throw him off the train, but the passengers who were there on the train helped him save his life. The constables hit him on the head due to which his shirt was soaked in blood.

The victim lodged a complaint against the constables in GRP Kanpur. GRP inspector R.B. Dwivedi said they reached the spot as soon as they received information about the incident. He further said the FIR has been registered and the investigation is underway.

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Delhi news

No CNG sale in Delhi today, Dealers Association calls for protest; here’s why

The reason for the closure of CNG pumps is the non-reimbursement of the electricity bills by Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL).

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CNG sale in Delhi

The Delhi Petrol Dealers Association (DPDA) has announced that there will be no CNG sale in Delhi on August 10 from 6 am to 10 pm. The reason for the closure of CNG pumps is the non-reimbursement of the electricity bills by Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL).

Delhi Association called for the protest as the reimbursement of the electricity bill of CNG pumps is not being done by IGL and is long overdue which has been causing them huge losses every day. The protest will affect about 250 CNG pumps in the capital.

In a letter last month, DPDA President Anurag Jain wrote, We have decided to go for no CNG sale on August 10 from 6 am to 10 pm as a mark of protest. He further said the DPDA is forced to take this step due to the reluctance shown by IGL to pay the actual electricity reimbursement of CNG facilities to the dealers of Delhi who are incurring huge financial losses every month.

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In Delhi, the electricity bill of the petrol pumps is paid by IGL, and CNG consumes a lot of electricity. DPDA says that IGL has not been paying the electricity bill for a long time, due to which they are suffering huge losses. And this is the reason the association has announced it will close CNG pumps today.

DPDA said there was a meeting organized with IGL in March 2022 to solve the issue, and IGL even agreed on the reimbursement of the electricity bill. After this meeting, the dealers were assured that the issue would be resolved in a month. DPDA said the issue has not been resolved yet and IGL didn’t fulfill its promise.

The non-fulfillment of DPDA’s demands has led them to take the step of closure of CNG pumps in Delhi on August 10. CNG is currently being sold at Rs 75.61 per kg in Delhi.

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