Agusta Westland case: Court dismisses plea of Christian Michel seeking custody release | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Agusta Westland case: Court dismisses plea of Christian Michel seeking custody release

Feb 29, 2024 10:44 AM IST

He has been booked in CBI as well in a money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED)

A Delhi court recently refused to release accused Christian Michel from custody in the alleged Agusta Westland VVIP chopper scam being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Michel had approached the court, in December 2023 seeking release from custody. (PTI file photo)
Michel had approached the court, in December 2023 seeking release from custody. (PTI file photo)

Michel had approached the court, in December 2023, seeking release from custody citing that he has been in custody for more than five years, since his arrest on December 4, 2018, after being extradited from UAE, which is the maximum sentence that he can be punished with, as pre-trial incarceration, while the offence has not yet been made out.

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He had submitted before the court that the offences alleged against him are under sections 8, 9 and 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

He further pointed out that the first information report (FIR) in the case was filed by the agency in 2013, so the act which was applicable before the amendment of 2014 would be implemented, which entailed a maximum sentence of five years.

He also submitted that the agency has also alleged offences under sections 415 (cheating) and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but there are no ingredients of these sections are not made out.

The court refuted the argument noting that the CBI had in one of the supplementary chargesheets also invoked section 467 (Forgery of valuable security, will) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against him which entails a life sentence.

“Since Section 467 IPC has been invoked by the prosecuting agency by way of supplementary charge sheet, this plea that the accused has already undergone the maximum period of detention u/S. 415, 420 IPC as well as u/S. 8 of the PC Act is not tenable”, said special judge Sanjeev Aggarwal in the order dated February 23.

The court also observed that Michel’s contention, that no offence under section 415, 120B IPC and under section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act has not been made out, can only be examined at the stage of arguments on the point of charge and the court cannot delve into it at the present stage.

The court also noted that it is ambiguous regarding which section of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has been invoked by Michel to move an application seeking release, as he can only be released on bail under CrPC.

“Even otherwise this court being trial court is not a constitutional court clothed with powers of writ jurisdiction, therefore, relief of release sought by way of present application is even otherwise misconceived for this reason also”, the court further added while dismissing Michel’s application.

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