The Supreme Court today refused to grant bail to Christian Michel's who is accused in the Augusta Westland Chopper scam.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul & BR Gavai upheld the Delhi High Court's decision of rejecting his interim bail plea which had noted that Michel's apprehension of catching COVID19 virus due to the overcrowding of prison and his vulnerable age was "unfounded".
On April 11, the Delhi High Court, while denying his plea for interim bail, the Single Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta had noted that,
'As regards the apprehension of the petitioner being infected by Covid-19 pandemic, it may be noted that the petitioner is lodged in separate cell with only two other prisoners and thus, is not in a Barrack or dormitory where there are number of prisons. It is not the case of the petitioner that any of the two inmates residing with him are suffering from Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, the apprehension of the petitioner also because of the vulnerable age and overcrowding in jail that he is likely to contact Covid-19 which may be detrimental to his health, is unfounded.'
On April 1, Supreme Court had denied his plea for grant of interim bail amid the coronavirus outbreak and had directed him to move the Delhi High Court, wherein his baip plea was pending.
The Supreme court on March 23, 2020 had directed a high powered committee to square in on those prisoners who could be released on parole in order to de-congest jails and effectuate social distancing in prisons. However, the committee did not consider Michel's case for grant of parole, following which, he approached the Top Court.
Stating that his health was extremely critical, he had sought bail through a plea by Advocates Sriram Prakkat, Vishnu Shankar & Ajlo Joseph. It was also averred that being contained in congested prisons in times of such crisis could further substantiate expose him to disease which could in turn be fatal for him.
Michel has been in judicial custody since January 5, 2019 and his regular bail is pending before the high court where the CBI and the ED have contended that he should not be granted relief, citing his influence and nexus which may hamper proceedings.
Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the cases filed by the ED and the CBI. The other two are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.