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Agusta middleman extradited to India, CBI takes custody

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, Dec 5: British national Christian Michel James, the middleman wanted in Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, was extrdited to India on Tuesday night from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He was taken straight to the CBI headquarters from the airport here.

The extradition comes as a major boost to the Indian agencies investigating the bribery angle in the contract.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took James, 57, under its custody as soon as he arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here around 11 p.m in a special aircraft, accompanied by a team of CBI, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Ministry of External Affairs officials.

Once the immigration process was over at the airport, James went through a medical examination in the presence of customs and other officials.

Subsequently, he was escorted by a Delhi Police team to the CBI headquarters in south Delhi's Lodhi Road area for interrogation over his alleged role in the purchase of 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland.

James would be confronted with documents recovered during raids by the Swiss authorities and shared with the CBI through Letters Rogatory (LRs) -- documents used for making request through a foreign court to obtain information from specified person/s within the jurisdiction of that court -- indicating the bribes paid by James to the Indian authorities for securing the contract for the supply of VVIP helicopters.

James, who had been avoiding criminal proceedings in India, is likely to be presented at a special CBI court in Delhi's Patiala House court on Wednesday afternoon.

The central probe agency in a press note said the entire extradition operation was conducted under the guidance of National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, with the coordination of interim CBI Director M. Nageswara Rao. - IANS

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