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VVIP chopper deal: Court issues fresh NBW against Michel James

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A special has issued a fresh open-ended non-bailable warrant (NBW) against British national and alleged middleman Christian Michel James in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal case, while summoning as accused his two Indian associates and an Indian company.

Besides issuing arrest warrant against James, Special Judge Kumar summoned as accused M/s Media Exim Private Limited and its directors, R K Nanda and J B Subramaniyam.

It posted the matter for further hearing on January 7. The firm was created by James, along with the two individuals.

"There is prima facie evidence against the accused," the said.

It passed the order after Public Prosecutor Navin Kumar Matta, appearing for the (ED), submitted that the alleged middleman was out of and pressed for an open-ended NBW against him to bring him here to face the trial.

An open-ended NBW does not carry a time limit for its execution.

In June this year, ED had filed 1,300-page prosecution complaint (equivalent for charge sheet) in connection with its money laundering probe in the case.

It had said the agency's investigation into the case had found that James allegedly received Euro 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from M/s AgustaWestland which was nothing but "kickbacks" paid by the firm to execute the deal for sale of 12 helicopters to in favour of the firm in "guise" of genuine transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country.

James is one of the three alleged middlemen being probed

in the case, apart from Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by ED and CBI. Both the agencies have also notified an Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN) or the global arrest warrant against him after a had earlier also issued an open-ended NBW against him.

The present complaint delved into the detailed role of James in the deal, his multiple visits to and his transactions. The first complaint in the case was filed in November 2014.

According to sources, ED has already sought Michel's extradition from the UK.

In the present complaint, the agency also claimed that the three middlemen "managed" to make inroads into the Indian Air Force in order to influence and subvert the stand of the force regarding reducing the service ceiling -- the altitude at which a helicopter can fly -- of the helicopters from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres in 2005 after which AgustaWestland became eligible to supply the dozen helicopters for VVIP flying duties.

It said that remittances made by James through his Dubai- based firm Ms Global Services, FZE to a media firm he floated in Delhi, along with two Indians, were made from the funds which he got from Ms AgustaWestland SpA through "criminal activity" and corruption being done in the chopper deal that led to the subsequent generation of proceeds of crime.

First Published: Thu, December 01 2016. 20:03 IST