AgustaWestland : CBI Court Directs To Shift Christian Michel To Cell Meant For Undertrials [Read Order]
A Special CBI Court in New Delhi today directed to shift Chirstian Michel, the alleged middleman in AgustaWestland case, to the cell meant for undertrails from the present high security cell which is meant for convicts.
The Court passed the order while considering an application by Michel to shift him from high security solitary cell to a normal cell. The CBI said that he was kept in Jail No.2 for security reasons. It further submitted that Jail Nos.1, 3 and 4 are also high security cells where undertrials are kept.
Michel's counsel alleged that CBI had asked him in Dubai to implicate certain persons in the case, failing which he would face problems in jail.
During the hearing, Michel's lawyer Aljo K Joseph said, "CBI officials met him in Dubai and he was told that if he does not name certain persons in the case and give desired confessions, he will face problem in the jail. That's what going on. In the name of security, he is being isolated and his freedom is further going to be curtailed."
The CBI, however, denied the allegation.
"These allegations are farther from the truth. Everyday they are making new allegations. They only want to scandalised the things. They have also made false and frivolous allegations like he had to go for open defecation which are false and giving bad name to the country. They have made a joke of this court. The foreigners who are to come from outside the country, are taking these grounds that facilities in Indian jails are not good enough. Trying to scandalised the court by allegations of open defecation etc.," the CBI counsel told the court.
The Special Judge Arvind Kumar took note of Rule 53 of the Delhi Prisons (Admission, Classification, Separation of Prisoners) Rules 1988 which mandated separation of undertrials from convicts. Based on this rule, the shifting of Michel to Jail Nos.1, 3 or 4 was ordered.
"Jail authorities shall make necessary assessment regarding any threat to the accused and shall take decision accordingly to keep him in a suitable cell. Needless to say that jail authority shall take care of safety and security of the accused Christian Michel James", ordered the judge.
Michel is represented by lawyers Aljo K Joseph, Sriram Parakkat and Vishnu Shankar.
Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the VVIP chopper scam involving AgustaWestland company. The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.
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.
He was extradited from Dubai last December and was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on December 22 and sent to seven days custody of the agency over money laundering charges in the scam after he was produced in a court here.
(With PTI inputs)