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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

CBI, ED reply sought on bail plea of Agusta accused Christian Michel

Christian Michel is currently in judicial custody and lodged in Tihar jail .

india Updated: Feb 09, 2019 07:08 IST
Namita Singh
Namita Singh
Hindustan Time, New Delhi
Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the multi-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal, being produced at a CBI court in Patiala House Court in New Delhi on Dec 15.
Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the multi-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal, being produced at a CBI court in Patiala House Court in New Delhi on Dec 15.(PTI File Photo)
         

A Delhi court on Friday sought the response of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a bail plea by Christian James Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland deal.

Special judge Arvind Kumar directed the investigating agencies to file their responses by February 12 to the bail plea by Michel, a British national, who is currently in judicial custody and lodged in Tihar jail.

The bail plea, filed through advocates Aljo Joseph and Sriram Parakkat, contended that under Section 167 (2) of Code of Criminal Procedure, a charge sheet had to be filed within 60 days of a person being taken into custody. As Michel has been in custody since December 4, the charge sheet had to be filed by February 3, the lawyers stated. He has the right to be released on bail if an investigating agency fails to complete its probe and file a charge sheet in the stipulated period. Michel’s lawyer submitted, “…on the expiry of the period stipulated, an indefeasible (not subject to being overturned) right accrues in favour of the accused for being released on bail on account of default by the investigating agency in the completion of the investigation within the period stipulated and the accused is entitled to be released on bail, if he is prepared to and furnishes the bail as directed by the Magistrate.”

Under the now-scrapped deal with AugustaWestland, a subsidiary of Italian defence group Leonardo, formerly Finmeccanica, India agreed to buy 12 helicopters for ferrying around VVIPs. The chopper deal was inked in February 2010 and scrapped four years later over allegations that bribes had exchanged hands.

Rajiv Saxena’s custody extended

A Delhi court Friday extended the remand of Rajiv Saxena, a suspect in the bribery case, until February 12.

Appearing for the Enforcement Directorate(ED), special public prosecutor DP Singh informed the court that they need to confront Saxena with voluminous documents and that he would need two more days to finish writing the answers to the questions given to him.

Saxena was deported from Dubai on the night of January 30 and arrested by the ED on his arrival.

Earlier, the ED had told the court that Saxena, in connivance with Gautam Khaitan, a co-accused in AgustaWestland case, “provided a corporate structure for money laundering”. This money, ED said, was paid to politicians, bureaucrats and air force officials who “influenced” the contract for supply of VVIP helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland.

First Published: Feb 08, 2019 23:41 IST