AgustaWestland chopper case: Delhi HC dismisses bail pleas of Christian Michel
The British aviation consultant is in jail for acting as a ‘middleman’ in the Rs 3,600 crore alleged scam related to purchase of choppers by the government.
The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed bail pleas filed by Christian Michel, who is facing investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in connection to the AgustaWestland chopper scam, PTI reported.
The Rs 3,600 crore alleged scam is related to the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from Italy-based chopper manufacturer AgustaWestland.
Michel, a British aviation consultant, was arrested on December 22, 2018 on allegations that he was involved in the sale of the helicopters to the Indian government in 2010. The investigation agencies have accused him of being a “middleman” in alleged illegal transactions.
He is currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail after being extradited from Dubai.
Seeking his in two separate bail pleas, Michel had argued that he was not required for the “purpose of investigation” being carried out by the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, PTI reported. Michel also told the court he would cooperate with the investigation.
He submitted to the court that he had never attempted to evade the process of law, and there was no purpose in keeping him in custody. In order to establish that he would not flee, Michel submitted a letter purportedly sent by the British High Commission to the Ministry of External Affairs, stating that no travel document will be issued to Michel without the court’s approval, LiveLaw reported.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had earlier opposed his plea saying that Michel is a British national, not having “roots in India”, and was at flight risk, LiveLaw reported.
In December, Michel had argued in a trial court that him not having “deep roots in the Indian society” cannot be a ground to deny him bail. The trial court had, however, adjudged that considering the facts of the case, the serious nature of accusations against Michel and the gravity of his offence, it was not a fit case to grant him bail.
In its chargesheet, the Central Bureau of Investigation has alleged an estimated loss of 398.21 million euros (about Rs 2,666 crore) to the Indian government due to the helicopter deal signed in 2010. The Enforcement Directorate, in its chargesheet, has alleged that Michel had received 30 million euros (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.