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Home / India News / Delhi court sends Agusta accused Christian Michel to 7 days ED custody

Delhi court sends Agusta accused Christian Michel to 7 days ED custody

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had arrested Michel in a money laundering case and sought his 15 days-custody

india Updated: Dec 22, 2018 22:50 IST
Richa Banka
Richa Banka
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Christian Michel, a key accused and alleged middleman in VVIP chopper case, is pictured inside a police vehicle outside a court in New Delhi on December 5.
Christian Michel, a key accused and alleged middleman in VVIP chopper case, is pictured inside a police vehicle outside a court in New Delhi on December 5.(REUTERS)

A Delhi court on Saturday sent Christian Michel, the alleged middleman accused in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, to seven days custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Special judge Arvind Kumar denied bail to Michel and sent him to custody after the court was informed that the ED formally arrested him. The agency had sought 15 days remand of Michel to probe his role.

Appearing for the ED, its special public prosecutor, DP Singh, sought 15 minutes to interrogate Michel, following which he was arrested. He informed the court that money was laundered in the VVIP helicopter deal that was routed through two channels facilitated by Bruno Spangnolini and Giueseppe Orsi, despite an integrity pact.

“It is submitted that the kingpin of one channel is Christian Michel James and his companions, while second channel is the brainchild of Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

Gautam Khaitan is the mastermind behind laundering the proceeds of crime in the second channel. Investigation has also revealed crucial links between these accused persons,” the remand paper read.

SPP Singh also contended that custodial interrogation of the accused is also required.

“…custodial interrogation of Michel is required to unearth the deep-rooted conspiracy and identification of his accomplices who gained undue advantage, and secondly to ascertain the proceeds of crime in their receipt for assisting AgustaWestland procure the contract,” the ED said.

Opposing the custody, Michel’s counsels Aljo K Joseph and Sriram Parakkat contended that the ED should have moved an application for joint interrogation while Michel was in the CBI custody.

The court said: “Keeping in view the facts and circumstances, I deem it fit to grant seven days remand of the accused.”

The judge also denied bail to Michel saying that he had not joined the investigation on his own. The acquittal of Michel from the Italian court cannot be taken into account as he was not a party in the said cases, the judge added.

“There is substance in the contention of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that the accused did not join investigation nor faced trial in Italy, hence does not have any bearing on the proceedings of the present case,” the judge noted. It also disposed of an application by Michel seeking a separate cell after his counsel informed that the jail authorities have given him a private cell.

Michel will be produced in court on December 28 at the end of his seven-day custody.

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