COVID-19: AgustaWestland scam middleman seeks bail

Extradited middleman in AgustaWestland scam seeks bail in view of coronavirus

He contended the presence of subjects, who have been tested positive of COVID-19 in Tihar jail, posed a threat to his life

Christian Michel (PTI Photo)

Christian Michel, an extradited middleman in AgustaWestland scam case, has approached the Delhi High Court for bail, citing the COVID-19 situation.

He contended the presence of subjects, who have been tested positive of COVID-19 in Tihar jail, posed a threat to his life because of his age and ill-health.

The 59-year-old British national feared risk of getting the contagion inside the prison here. He also relied upon the recent Supreme Court's Suo Motu order for decongesting the prison to contain the spread of the virus inside the jails across the country. The top court had suggested considering the release of the undertrials and convicts of offences with a maximum seven years of jail term.

Michel was arrested in the UAE and extradited to India on December 4, 2018. He had earlier failed in several bids to seek bail.

His fresh application stated "agedness and a pre-existing ill health made him more susceptible to the Covid-19 infection than any other ordinary prisoner with a normal health condition", warranting his release on bail. 

He emphasised the need to live in an environment with a lesser risk of contagion with sufficient chance to maintain social distancing.

He faced charges of corruption and money laundering in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper purchase scam.Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

According to the CBI, there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million (about Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth Euro 556.262 million.

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