NEW DELHI (Reuters) – An Indian court on Wednesday remanded to custody an english businessman accused of paying bribes to Indian officials to win a helicopter deal for Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland, using a rare extradition.
The case threatens strong repercussions for India's opposition Congress party, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party referred to as extradition of Christian Michel a victory to use fight graft.
"You never know what secrets will tumble out once he starts talking?" Modi said at the rally in western Rajasthan that is electing a fresh state assembly.
Modi is seeking to embarrass Congress for the reason that 2010 deal to shop for 12 helicopters for approximately 36 billion rupees ($511 million) was struck during its tenure although its government canceled the sale in 2019 and ordered a police inquiry within the bribery accusations.
Michel, 54, acted as a middleman to swing the sale for AgustaWestland, now a unit from the Italian defense group Leonardo, India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said in a very news release on Tuesday.
It said two firms he floated entered around 12 contracts with Finmeccanica, which changed its name to Leonardo not too long ago, by which 42 million euros ($48 million) was paid, however no receipts or information services he offered.
The CBI alleged these people were kickbacks to Indian authorities.
Michel, who have denied any wrongdoing, was remanded to custody until his next hearing on Dec. 10.
On Wednesday, his lawyer, Rosemary Patrizi, told changes Now news channel his extradition was politically motivated and is challenged during the Indian courts.
On the campaign trail, Modi said his government was convinced of following your helicopter case to your end.
"We investigated the scam after coming to power and caught one of several accused," he added. "You will need read inside papers which the government possesses him extradited from Dubai."
India is among the world's biggest armed importers but has long faced criticism for the opaque defense procurement process and plenty of deals have ended up being investigated for wrongdoing.