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  India   All India  30 Dec 2018  Christian Michel named ‘Mrs Gandhi’ and ‘son of Italian lady’: ED

Christian Michel named ‘Mrs Gandhi’ and ‘son of Italian lady’: ED

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Dec 30, 2018, 6:23 am IST
Updated : Dec 30, 2018, 6:23 am IST

In its application, the ED had alleged that Mr Michel be barred from meeting his lawyer during its custody, alleging that he was being tutored.

AgustaWestland chopper deal 'middleman' Christian Michel (Photo: PTI)
 AgustaWestland chopper deal 'middleman' Christian Michel (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday claimed in a Delhi court that alleged middleman Christian Michel, arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, has mentioned “Mrs Gandhi” and “son of the Italian lady” during custody and the British national is misusing legal access by passing chits to advocates asking them how to tackle questions on “Mrs Gandhi”.

The probe agency made the submission before the court while seeking an extension in the custody of Mr Michel, who was extradited from Dubai recently and arrested by the ED on December 22, for “unearthing the deep-rooted conspiracy and identification of all his accomplices including the IAF officials, MoD (ministry of defence) officials, bureaucrats and politicians who gained undue advantage for getting the contract in favour of AgustaWestland”.

 

In its application seeking extension of Mr Michel’s remand, the ED also claimed that he has spoken during questioning about the “son of an Italian lady” and how he is going to become the next Prime Minister of the country. The ED said it has discovered fresh evidence relating to new entities, used for laundering the proceeds of crime and Mr Michel’s custodial interrogation was needed for confrontation with his Indian connections identified till date. It said he was also required to be taken around Delhi to identify the places where he held meetings and used them as hide outs to give bribes or to entertain officials and public figures.

 

Vacation judge Chandrashekhar accepted the ED’s plea and extended Mr Michel’s custody by seven days. The court also imposed restrictions during Mr Michel’s meetings with his lawyers and directed that the three defence counsel will be able to meet Mr Michel one at a time from a distance and the twice-a-day legal assistance will be only for 15 minutes at 10 am and at 5 pm.

In its application, the ED had alleged that Mr Michel be barred from meeting his lawyer during its custody, alleging that he was being tutored.

The agency told the court that Mr Michel had made a reference to “Mrs Gandhi” during interrogation on December 27. The ED claimed that during medical examination, the accused had handed over a folded paper to his advocate Aljo K. Joseph and but the act was noticed by ED officials.

 

After perusal of the paper, it was revealed that it pertained to a set of follow-up questions on “Mrs Gandhi”, the ED claimed.

Although the agency did not make any clear reference to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the Congress on Saturday hit out at the BJP-led government at the Centre for misusing agencies to put pressure on Mr Michel to “name a particular family” as parliamentary elections are near.

The ED further told the court that it is clear that there is a conspiracy to shield or to tamper with evidence that could be brought forth from the questioning of the accused.

“The benefit given by the court to the accused of legal access is being misused. It should be stopped henceforth,” the agency said.

 

Claiming that the alleged middleman remained evasive to some questions during investigation, the ED said the accused is trying to introduce new alibis to save himself and his aides who have received/facilitated in laundering of proceeds. Mr Mr Michel was earlier lodged in Tihar jail in a related CBI case. He is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the ED and the CBI. The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

Tags: enforcement directorate, christian michel, agustawestland case