Court allows ED's plea for seven days custody of Michel

Court allows ED's plea for seven days custody of Michel

Christian Michel, the alleged middleman arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case. (PTI File Photo)

A Delhi court on Saturday allowed a plea by the Enforcement Directorate to take custodial interrogation of Christian Michel, an alleged middleman, brought from the UAE to face charges of corruption and money laundering in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper purchase scam.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar granted seven days custody of Michel to the Enforcement Directorate. The court also rejected a bail application moved by Michel, a British national.

Meanwhile, the court disposed of his plea for a separate cell in Tihar jail after he said things were in order. Earlier he complained of being put to uncomfortable questions by inmates on pending investigation. The court, however, asked the jail authorities to ensure his safety and security as per rules.

As Michel was produced here, the Enforcement Directorate moved an application to arrest Michel to ascertain certain properties allegedly purchased by him here with the bribe money, which would tantamount to money laundering. The court allowed 15 minutes time for the agency to interrogate him. The agency subsequently arrested him and sought 15 days time from the court for his custodial interrogation.

We have to establish the chain of events as we have got certain leads on payment of money through Hawala channel, the ED counsel said.

Michel's counsel strongly opposed it saying the agency wanted his custody to extract a forceful confession. We have already provided all details including bank account details, the counsel said.

His advocates questioned why the ED did not quiz the accused when he was under the CBI custody.

ED's counsel responsed contending a joint interrogation was not possible as both the ED and the CBI were separate agencies.

Michel was arrested in the UAE and extradited to India on December 4. He was on Wednesday sent to Tihar jail after being remanded in judicial custody till December 28.

He was produced in the court on a production warrant on the plea of Enforcement Directorate, which has lodged a separate money laundering case in the chopper deal.