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21 Jan 2019, Edition - 1287, Monday

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Secret deal that brought Christian Michel to India

indiatoday.in

Christian Michel was bundled to India in a private plane late Tuesday night. The alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland copter deal extradited by Dubai is currently in the CBI custody for five days. But what remained a mystery as to how the entire mission became possible.

India Today has learnt about a “secret deal” that led to Michel’s extradition from the UAE to India. It all started with an email that Michel wrote to a London-based law firm. The email also revealed the role the UAE government played in the extradition of the 57-year-old arms dealer. It is to be noted that Michel was arrested in June, a month after he wrote the email.

On May 24, 2018, Michel wrote the email to a British law firm saying that he was asked by the UAE Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to make a statement on the Indian affairs at Hayat Regency Hotel in Dubai at 2pm on May 21. “I went there with my UAE lawyer. Another UAE national who was present there introduced himself as the foreign minister of UAE. He personally asked Michel to cooperate citing good relations between India and UAE,” Michel wrote in his email. To his surprise, Michel saw an Indian official at the venue. Michel described him as a “person wearing suit not a usual tweed jacket”.

According to this email, Michel was told by the officer that he was authorised by the Government of India “to take him off the list of accused”. In the email, Michel wrote that he was told that the government was willing to give an undertaking that he will not be arrested and will not be prevented from leaving the country in exchange of a signature on a 20-page document which would make him a witness.

According to this email, the UAE minister later left him with the Indian official in a conference room and went downstairs to wait for the meeting to end.

Michel later confirmed to India Today that this was the first of the three meetings after which he was formally arrested because he refused to take the deal. The email also claimed that Michel was confronted with documents related to the case and the Indian official even asked for his opinion “if 90 per cent of these documents were correct to which Michel responded saying may be 60 per cent of it was correct”.

According to the email, the UAE minister was then invited upstairs and since it was Iftar time, everybody was hurrying for breakfast. The CBI in a statement issued on Tuesday evening credited NSA Ajit Doval’s supervision for the smooth processing of Michel’s extradition.

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