Millennium Post

Consular access granted to Christian Michel: MEA

Consular access granted to Christian Michel: MEA

New Delhi: India has granted consular access to Christian Michel, a British national who was brought here from the UAE last month in connection with the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal.

The British High Commission had sought consular access to Michel after he was arrested in the first week of December.

"He has been granted consular access. A second secretary-level officer from the British High Commission has met Christian Michel based on the request we received last month," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a media briefing.

The consular access to Michel was given on Thursday, he said.

Asked about Michel's plea in the Delhi court Thursday seeking permission to make calls to his family members and his lawyers abroad, Kumar said, "We have shared in the past that he has been allowed to communicate with his family members. I have not seen the plea which he has entered on this matter (now)."

Sources, however, said that if the British High Commission requests that he be allowed more communication, it may be considered.

Michel, 57, was brought to India following his extradition by the United Arab Emirates in connection with the chopper deal case. At present, he is lodged in the Tihar jail here.

Michel is one of the three middlemen -- the two others Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa -- being probed by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate in the case.

Michel has denied the charges.

The ED, in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he had received 30 million euros (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.

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

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