Court sends Christian Michel to judicial custody

Michel was produced before Special Judge Arvind Kumar. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) sought his judicial custody in connection with its probe into a money-laundering case. File photo

A Delhi court on Saturday allowed a plea by the Enforcement Directorate to send 'middleman' Christian Michel to judicial custody in connection with the VVIP chopper scam case.

"We have investigated how cash was transferred through 'hawala' and multiple bank accounts. We have found information about other defence deals. We need to investigate the money flowing there as well. We have documents to show that they misled the Italian court," the agency said in its application.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar sent Michel to judicial custody till February 26 in the money laundering case. In the CBI case, the court sent him to judicial custody till February 27.

Michel, who was extradited from Dubai recently, was arrested by the ED on December 22 and sent to seven-day custody of the agency by a court here.

He was earlier lodged in the Tihar Jail here in a related CBI case.

The ED, through special public prosecutors D P Singh and N K Matta, told the court that probe had been "fruitful" till now.

The court had earlier imposed restrictions on Michel meeting his lawyers in ED custody after the agency said that he was misusing legal access by passing chits to the advocates, asking them how to tackle questions on "Mrs Gandhi".

In its application seeking an extension of Michel's remand, the agency also claimed that during questioning, he had spoken about the "son of an Italian lady" and how he was going to become the next prime minister of the country.

The ED, in its remand application on Saturday, said that the probe had revealed that Michel was the key middleman for AgustaWestland, pursuing the deal at different levels, and was instrumental in the circulation of sensitive information and eventual payment of kickbacks.

The key issues being investigated by the ED include the modus operandi adopted by the accused to eliminate Tata and HAL from competition in an Italian deal and the steps undertaken to mask the present deal as a British deal, instead of an Italian deal, to gain an advantage in Light Observation Helicopters.

The agency is also probing the modus operandi adopted in influencing the German deal and how the accused misused information, leading to actions under the Official Secrets Act, and to determine if there were any more kickbacks, leading to the proceeds of crime linked with these activities.

The agency said that it needed to determine the exact quantum of money laundered through the Media Exim Private Limited, the roles of the co-accused and unearth the proceeds of crime parked through this channel.

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Court sends Christian Michel to judicial custody

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