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A Special CBI Court today extended the Enforcement Directorate’s custody of British businessman Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland case, for another seven days.
“It seems that voluminous documents are required to be put to the accused and many other aspects as mentioned by the Spl. PP in his submissions are yet to be investigated through the assistance of the accused. Therefore, it seems that it is in the interest of justice to extend the custody of accused to ED for further period of seven days.“, CBI Court ordered.
In its remand application submitted to the CBI Court, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) claimed that the custodial interrogation of Michel was required to ascertain the modus operandi adopted by the accused to eliminate Tata and HAL from competition in the chopper deal, as well as to investigate into the violation and misuse of information in terms of the Official Secrets Act.
The ED also submitted that it has discovered new entities and new evidence to establish laundering of the proceeds of crime. It was also stated that Michel’s custody would be required to take him around Delhi to identify the places where he held meetings or used them as hideouts to give bribes or entertain public figures, officials etc.
Additional District Judge Chandra Shekhar was also informed that at the time of Michel’s medical examination, he handed over “a folded paper” to his counsel, Advocate Aljo K Joseph. After the Deputy Director asked Joseph to hand over the folded paper given by Michel, it was found that it had “typed form of questions to be asked (to Michel)” and “pertained to a set of questions with regard to follow up questions on ‘Mrs. Gandhi’”, the remand paper stated.
The ED thus submitted that “there is a conspiracy to shield and/or to tamper the evidence that could be brought forth from the questioning of the accused”.
In view of the submissions, the Court curtailed the time for legal assistance to Michel to 15 minutes in the morning and in the evening.
ED was represented by Special Public Prosecutor, DP Singh.
Christian Michel was represented by Aljo K Joseph, Vishnu Shankar and Sriram Parakkat.
He will be produced before the CBI Court next on January 5.
Read the order: