Business Today
PTI feed

VVIP Chopper case: Michel seeks separate cell, Courts ask Tihar authorities to respond

twitter-logoPTI | December 21, 2018 | Updated 20:02 IST

New Delhi, Dec 21 (PTI) Christian James Michel, arrested in the VVIP chopper case, sought in a Delhi court Friday that he be lodged in a separate cell as other inmates were putting "uncomfortable questions" to him. Michel said he apprehends that any wrong statement made by any of them upon release may go against him as also the interest of the case. The court asked the Tihar jail authorities here to respond to his plea. Michel has said in his application that he has been shifted to a cell with 40 more inmates who are "trying to interact" with him in a detailed manner, asking him questions pertaining to the pending investigation. "It is even trite to mention that the safety of the persons who are interacting with the accused (in the cell) may at some point of time be in jeopardy. It is informed by the accused (Michel) that the residents in the cell are putting uncomfortable questions to him which otherwise affect the personal liberty of the accused," the application said. He also said that he is a British citizen and should be provided with "decent facilities" as per the rules. Michel, arrested in the UAE and extradited to India on December 4, was on Wednesday sent to Tihar jail after being remanded in judicial custody till December 28. Special Judge Arvind Kumar asked the jail authorities to respond to Michel's application, filed through advocate Aljo K Joseph and Vishnu Shankar, in which he has sought a direction to "Superintendent of Tihar Jail to allocate a separate cell to accused Christian James Michel". The court also issued production warrant for Michel and asked the jail authorities to produce him before it on Saturday on the plea of Enforcement Directorate, which has lodged a separate money laundering case in the chopper deal. The ED's plea was filed through advocates D P Singh and Naveen Matta. Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The other two are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. The court is also scheduled to pronounce on Saturday its order on the bail plea of Michel. In his application, Michel has said that on December 19, he was lodged separately in a cell at Tihar jail but during the night of December 19-20, he was shifted to a general cell where more than 40 inmates were accommodated. "It is submitted that the accused is a foreign national and a citizen and passport holder of the United Kingdom. It is needless to mention that decent facilities need to be provided to him as per the Rules," the plea said. He said that his interaction with other inmates in the jail might go against the interest of investigation as well as his rights in the prison. "It is pertinent to mention here that few of the co- prisoners in custody where the accused is placed now are likely to the released in a few days either on parole or on bail in the forthcoming days," the plea said. "The accused apprehends that any wrong statements made by any of them through any media interaction may go against the interest of the accused as well the free and fair investigation and trial, which the Constitution of India guarantees," it said. He should be kept in a separate cell to avoid "scandalous remarks" by inmates, it added. He has said the court should protect his rights and dignity and ensure a fair investigation and trial in the case. The application said that it is one of the rare cases in which the accused is seeking "absence of contact" with any other prisoners during judicial custody. "Therefore the accused apprehends the possibility of any person who has had any contact or any chance of contact with the accused at this stage may make random statements which may affect a free and fair investigation as well and the dignity of the accused at this stage," it said. In September 2015, the Indian authorities had issued an arrest warrant against Michel and had applied a Red Corner Notice through INTERPOL, against him. The CBI has alleged 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. PTI SKV ABA SA

  • Print
A    A   A