Delhi Court reserves order on Christian Michel's bail plea for Dec 22
New Delhi, Dec 19: Alleged middleman Christian Michel has been sent to judicial custody till December 28 by Delhi Court.
The 57-year-old British national told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that he was not required for custodial interrogation and there was little reason to continue keeping him in custody."
My handwriting has already been taken. There were no original documents with the CBI to match it with. I have volunteered to provide all the documents," Michel had spent the last 15 days in BI custody told the court.
Michel was arrested in the UAE and extradited to India on December 4. The next day, he was produced in the court, which allowed his five-day custodial interrogation by the CBI that was later extended by five more days.
Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.
Both the agencies filed an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
The CBI opposed the bail application, saying Michel might flee as he had already tried to escape from Dubai just before his extradition.
The probe agency added that Michel was an influential person having links with people from the ministry and other bureaucrats and politicians, many of who are witnesses in the case.
"We brought him with so much difficulty. Some new facts have emerged and we need to have follow ups on those. He has not been a cooperative witness. A lot more has to be unearthed for now. He has no roots in India here. He has property but he may sell them and go away," the probe agency said.
The court's decision to extend his custody was made on the grounds that he needed to be confronted with various documents in the case.
The CBI had said that he was required to be taken to the premises of Pawan Hans India Ltd in Mumbai to verify his version about attempts to buy back the WG-30 helicopters, identify the shipper and confront the officials of Pawan Hans India.
The agency said a voluminous quantity of documents have been received from various countries and the accused has yet to be questioned regarding a number of them.
The defence counsel opposed the CBI application for further remand, saying that already enough time was granted to the agency and nothing incriminating was found against the accused.
The CBI has alleged that 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, made claims that Michel received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.