VVIP chopper scam: Delhi court dismisses plea seeking to reduce time for Christian Michel’s phone call

New Delhi, PTI | Updated : 22 January 2019, 12:08 AM
Christian Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the ED and the CBI. (File Photo: PTI)
Christian Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the ED and the CBI. (File Photo: PTI)

A Delhi court on Monday dismissed Tihar Central Jail's plea seeking to reduce the time limit given to alleged middleman Christian Michel, arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, to make phone calls to his family members and lawyers abroad. Special Judge Arvind Kumar, who had granted 15 minutes a week to Michel to make international calls, junked the plea filed by the jail authorities, saying there was no ground to curtail the relief granted to the accused.

The jail superintendent had approached the court, saying the time limit was not as per the jail-manual and the time duration should be decreased.

Michel, extradited from Dubai, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on December 22 last year.

The court had earlier imposed restrictions on Michel meeting his lawyers while he was in the ED's custody, after the agency had said he was misusing the legal access by passing chits to his lawyers, asking them how to tackle questions on "Mrs Gandhi".

ED counsels, D P Singh and N K Matta, had also claimed that during the questioning, Michel had spoken about the "son of an Italian lady" and how he was going to become the next prime minister of the country.

"We also need to decipher who is the 'big man' referred to as 'R' in the communications between Michel and other people," the ED had told the court.

On January 5, Michel was sent to judicial custody in the ED case. He is also lodged in judicial custody in the CBI case related to the scam.

Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

The ED, in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he had received 30 million euros (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.

The CBI, in its charge sheet, has alleged an estimated loss of 398.21 million euros (about Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer due to the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth 556.262 million euros.

First Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 12:08 AM
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