Interpol on Tuesday issued a Red Corner Notice against British national Christian James Michel, an alleged middleman, on the request of CBI in connection with its probe into the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal, sources in the central investigative body said.
Michel, 54, is facing charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, illegal gratification and abuse of official position for allegedly acting as a middleman to influence the decision to purchase 12 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland.
CBI sources said on the request of the agency, the Interpol headquarters in France issued the Red Corner Notice for Michel’s arrest.
They said immigration authorities have been requested to open a lookout circular against Michel in view of the notice.
In February 2010, India had signed the Rs 3,600-crore deal to acquire 12 three-engine AW-101 choppers from the Italian company for the services of VVIPs, including the President and the Prime Minister. Later, allegations of corruption were levelled by Italian authorities.
CBI has named 13 individuals, including a former IAF chief, in the FIR as accused.
The agency has alleged the Air Force “conceded to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters from 6,000 m to 4,500 m as mandatory.”
It is alleged that reduction of service ceiling — maximum height at which a helicopter can perform normally — allowed UK-based AgustaWestland to come into the fray as, otherwise, its helicopters were not even qualified for submission of bids.