Court extends CBI custody of Michel for 4 more days

Court extends CBI custody of Michel for 4 more days

Christian Michel. (Reuters file photo)

A Delhi court on Saturday extended for four days the CBI custody of Christian Michel, alleged middlemen, arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar allowed four days of further custodial interrogation of the accused, though the CBI sought five more days to conduct thorough interrogation, to confront him with the documents received from foreign countries and to find out the role of the other accused.

Advocate Aljo K Joseph, appearing for Michel, strongly opposed the plea for further custodial interrogation saying, there was no incriminating material against him and nothing wrong has been found on the part of the accused by an Italian court.

Advocate Santrolli Rosemary Patrizi Dos Anjos, who represented Michel before different authorities, sought permission to have a meeting with the accused of 10 minutes.

Michel's counsel also filed documents in support of bail application. As the CBI counsel sought time to file a reply to the bail application, the court put it up for consideration on December 19.

During the hearing, a CBI officer investigating the case also informed the court that he has sent no objection to the Ministry of External Affairs for consular access to the accused. The matter is pending for consideration before the Ministry. The CBI has no role in it. He, however, submitted that he would be sending a request to expedite the matter.

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.

The 57-year-old British national was arrested in the UAE and extradited to India on December 4.

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.

The ED, in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.