A Delhi court on Saturday extended the Central Bureau of Investigation’s custody of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, by four more days, PTI reported. The court will hear the British man’s bail plea on December 19.
The investigating agency told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that it needed to confront the 57-year-old with several documents, Bar&Bench reported. “We also need to take more handwriting specimen,” special prosecutor DP Singh told the judged. “Christian Michel writes ‘painfully slow’”.
Singh said the investigators may have to take Michel to Mumbai. “Michel has categorically said that he used to take money, therefore, we need to further question him,” the prosecutor said.
Meanwhile, the court allowed Rosemary Patrizzi, one of Michel’s lawyers to meet him for 10 minutes before rejecting her request him to meet him again, Bar & Bench reported. Michel’s other lawyer, Aljo Joseph told the court that that his team was working on getting the Interpol notice against him revoked.
Patrizzi claimed she was afraid of being arrested. “I am afraid they will arrest me because I know everything about Christian Michel,” ANI quoted her as saying. “I hope nothing bad happens to me, I came here to help.”
Michel was extradited to India from the United Arab Emirates on December 3. The next day, the court granted the CBI five-day custody of the alleged middleman in the defence deal. On Monday, the agency requested a further remand of nine days for Michel’s custodial interrogation, claiming that he was not cooperating in the inquiry. However, the court granted only five days.
On December 6, the Ministry of External Affairs said it was examining a request by the United Kingdom High Commission for consular access to Michel.
The former Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government signed the AgustaWestland helicopter deal in 2010 with the British-Italian firm. The deal was put on hold after Italy arrested the head of Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland’s parent company, on charges of paying bribes to win the contract. Michel is one of three suspected middlemen who Indian investigative agencies believe brokered the deal.