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SC seeks replies on bail pleas of Christian Michel in AugustaWestland case

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a response from the CBI and ED on the bail pleas of Christian Michel James, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper scam case.

Gavel, order, judiciary, courts, laws

Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on the bail pleas of Christian Michel James, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper scam case.
The Rs 3,600-crore alleged scam relates to the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and PS Narasimha issued notice to both the investigating agencies and sought their replies in four weeks.
During the hearing advocates Aljo Joseph and MS Vishnu Shankar, appearing for Michel, said that his case is covered under section 436A of CrPC (maximum period for which under trial prisoner can be detained) and he has undergone 50 per cent of the sentence for the offence which he is alleged to have committed.
Joseph said that his client was extradited from Dubai and he has been in custody since then and the investigation is still not complete.
He submitted that Michel's case is that under sections 8 and 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the maximum sentence is five years and he has undergone nearly four years.
In India, I have undergone 3 years and six months while in Dubai I was in custody for 120 days, Michel's advocate said.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for ED, said that with great difficulty, the investigating agency has got his custody, and section 436A will not apply for ED proceedings.
He said that Michel is a resident of the United Kingdom and was extradited from Dubai.
The bench asked Raju to consider this aspect in his response that he has spent almost four years in jail.
Michel has challenged the Delhi High Court order dated March 11 by which his bail plea was dismissed.
Seeking his release in both the CBI and ED cases, the accused had said he was not required for the purpose of investigation and expressed his willingness to cooperate with the probe.
Dismissing the bail pleas in both the CBI and ED cases last year, a trial court had said that considering the overall facts and circumstances, the serious nature of accusations, the gravity of the offence, and the conduct of the accused, it did not consider it to be a fit case for grant of bail.
Michel was extradited from Dubai in December 2018 and subsequently arrested by the two investigating agencies.
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.
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.
He is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case. The other two are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: May 18 2022 | 7:35 PM IST

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