A court in Delhi on Friday dismissed the bail petition of Christian Michel James, an alleged middleman arrested in connection with the AgustaWestland chopper scam, Bar and Bench reported.

James, a British aviation consultant, was arrested on December 22, 2018. Investigators had alleged that Michel was involved in the 2010 sale of the VVIP helicopters to the Indian government. He was extradited from Dubai and is currently lodged in Tihar Jail. The Central Bureau of Investigation is looking into corruption allegations, while the Enforcement Directorate is inquiring money laundering case.

Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar said “the stage” was not fit to grant bail to James, according to PTI.

In his petition, James said that he had undergone almost 600 hours of custodial interrogation by both the investigating agencies. He assured that he would join inquiry whenever necessary.

James claimed that his detention, deportation and custody are illegal as he was already acquitted by courts in Italy on similar charges. “Article 20 (2) of the Constitution describes that no one shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once,” the petition said.

The British national also said that he had raised the matter of his alleged illegal detention before the United Nations panel.

In February, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which functions under the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, had urged authorities to release James after it concluded that he had been held in India arbitrarily since 2018. The Centre, however, had said that the conclusions drawn by the global body were biased, based on limited information and an inaccurate understanding of the country’s criminal justice system.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had signed the Rs 3,565-crore helicopter deal in 2010 with the British-Italian firm AgustaWestland. Following Italy’s arrest of the head of Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland’s parent company, on charges of paying bribes to win the contract, the deal was put on hold.