The Patiala House Court in Delhi on Wednesday reserved its order on the bail plea of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, reported PTI. The court will give its order on Saturday. The court also sent Michel to judicial custody till December 28.
Michel’s counsel, Aljo K Joseph, earlier told the court that he was not required for custodial interrogation. Joseph said that Michel had been questioned five times in Dubai before being extradited to India on December 4. He has been in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation for 15 days.
Joseph said Michel was dyslexic and was being “forced” to write in cursive for handwriting samples, according to India Today. “My handwriting has already been taken,” Michel told the court, according to PTI. “There were no original documents with the CBI to match it with. I have volunteered to provide all the documents.”
His counsel also objected to the CBI’s application for further custody, saying enough time had been granted and no incriminating material was found against Michel.
The Central Bureau of Investigation told the court that Michel was an influential person with links to politicians and bureaucrats and that he could try to remove evidence. “He was making efforts to run away from Dubai just before his extradition,” the agency said, according to ANI. “We brought him with so much difficulty,” PTI quoted the CBI counsel as saying.
The agency said new facts had emerged, which they need to follow up on. “He has not been a cooperative witness,” the CBI said. “A lot more needs to be unearthed of our own.”
The former Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had signed the Rs 3,565-crore helicopter deal in 2010 with the British-Italian firm AgustaWestland. 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.