A historic consultant to AgustaWestland: Why James Michel’s extradition is a big deal
New Delhi, Dec 5: He has been described as a historic consultant for AgustaWestland. The extradition of James Christian Michel is indeed a boost to the investigation agencies probing the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.
Christian Michel James is described as a historical consultant of AgustaWestland/Westland Helicopters, UK with technical operational knowledge of the aircraft, the military bases and the pilots.
Christian Michel James worked with Westland Helicopters Limited (WHL), UK since the 1980s. Even before Michel, his father had also been a consultant of AgustaWestland, UK for the Indian Territory.
Christian Michel James was a frequent visitor to India and was operating as a middleman for defence procurements through a wide network of sources cultivated in the IAF and MoD at different levels including retired and serving IAF Officials.
He was tracking the movements of the procurement process files and was sending periodical reports/despatches on the developments to the accused persons connected with AgustaWestland.
In this process, he shared the information collected from IAF and MoD with his associate(s), who used to transmit the despatches through fax to the other counterparts sitting abroad in Italy and Switzerland.
In the aforesaid manner, he was updating/informing the management of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland namely Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini and others about his efforts in India for securing supply contract of VVIP Helicopters.
Involvement of Christian Michel James in the purchase of VVIP helicopter by Government of India had surfaced in the year 2012 as middlemen for swinging the deal in favour of M/s AgustaWestland and making illegal payment of commission/kickbacks to the Indian Authorities.
Initially, the investigation conducted by Italian Authorities indicted him for offences of international bribery/corruption. CBI took up the investigation and wanted him for investigation. However, he escaped from India and has been deliberately evading his presence from the investigating agency and also the due process of law in India.