New Delhi: A Delhi Court Thursday dismissed plea of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman arrested in the Agusta Westland chopper scam, who had sought seven-day interim bail to celebrate Easter with family.
Special Judge Arvind Kumar refused to grant the relief to Michel. Special Public Prosecutor DP Singh, appearing for the Chief Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), opposed Michel's plea saying that India is a country of many festivals and thousands of prisoners have faith in various religions. The accused, therefore, can't be allowed to go out of jail to celebrate festivals.
Singh said Michel can participate in Easter in the custody. He further argued that if Michel comes out on interim bail and makes some statement relating to the case, it would derail investigation. Michel's lawyer argued that since the charge sheet has been filed, there is no point of tampering evidence.
He said the accused is cooperating in the case. "Being a Christian, he was not even allowed to offer a holy mass even during Christmas...," said the application moved by the accused. "It is submitted that the week commencing form 14th April to 21st April is a holy week for Christians and 21st April is Easter which will be celebrated universally. The petitioner wishes to attend the holy mass on Easter day and would like to make offerings during the Easter day," Michel has said in his plea.
The ED filed a supplementary charge sheet against Michel and others on April 4. He was arrested by ED on December 22 after his extradition from Dubai. He is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the chopper scam by ED and the CBI.
Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa are the two others. The agency had told the court that Michel made 24.25 million euros and 1,60,96,245 pounds from the Agusta Westland deal. ED has told the court that it identified Michel's properties purchased with proceeds of the crime.
CBI has alleged that the deal signed in February 2010 to supply VVIP choppers, worth 556.262 million euros, caused an estimated loss of 398.21 million euros (about Rs 2,666 crore).
On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Italy-based Finmeccanica's British subsidiary Agusta Westland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks. The CBI on September 1, 2017, had filed a charge sheet in the case in which Michel was named as one of the accused.