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    British Deal Fixer Accused of Corruption Alleges Mental Torture in Indian Prison

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    Christian Michel was arrested in the United Arab Emirates and then extradited to India on 4 December 2018. He is accused of bribing Indian Air Force officials, including former service chief Shashindra Pal Tyagi, to manipulate the operational requirement of helicopters to favour AgustaWestland.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): British middleman Christian Michel has alleged mental torture in India's biggest prison, Tihar Jail in New Delhi, and asked the authority concerned to shift him to one of the normal prison cells. Michel, who is accused of bribing defence officials in the multi-million bribery case, has written a letter to a special judge alleging that he has been lodged in a high-security cell with terrorists and 160 other hardened criminals. He added that his cell is located in an isolated place inside the prison premises.

    READ MORE: Corruption Back in Indian Election Narrative With British Middleman in Custody

    Hearing the plea, the court in Delhi has sought a response from the jail authorities on Tuesday. The Enforcement Directorate — the agency investigating the AgustaWestland chopper corruption case — has also sought permission to question Michel within the jail's premises.

    Michel was moved to high-security ward because of the threat perception against him in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack. "We had done a security assessment of the foreign nationals (lodged in Tihar) so that there is no repetition of the attack like that on the Pakistani national (in the Jaipur Jail)", Tihar Jail authorities said. After the Pulwama terror attack, a Pakistani prisoner lodged in Jaipur Jail was murdered by inmates.

    The deal inlying the alleged involvement of Christian Michel is valued at $753 million for 12 choppers was meant for the communication squadron of the Indian Air Force. The choppers were to be used to ferry the president, prime minister, and other dignitaries.

    READ MORE: British Middleman Involved in AgustaWestland Bribery Scam Extradited to India

    The former Indian Air Force chief Shashindra Pal Tyagi, who retired from service in 2007, along with his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and the mastermind behind the bribery case, Gautam Khaitan, were arrested in December 2016. India's Central Bureau of Investigation had alleged that chopper specifications were revised in 2005 after AgustaWestland company officials reached out to Tyagi through middlemen, offering him a hefty kickback. The deal was tweaked and as a result, the contract was eventually awarded over to AgustaWestland in 2010.


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    defence sector, purchases, corruption, AugustaWestland, India, United Kingdom
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