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AgustaWestland case: Court dismisses Michel's plea on entry of ED, CBI into Tihar

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A special court has dismissed the application filed by AgustaWestland alleged 'middleman' Christian Michel seeking an inquiry into the visit of Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials in Tihar jail to meet him without court's permission.

Judge Arvind Kumar while dismissing the plea, observed that "I do not find any illegality on the part of ED and CBI officials who visited Tihar Jail. The application filed by accused Christian James Michel is without any merit and is thus dismissed".

Christian Michel is currently lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail in connection with Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal. While the CBI is probing his alleged role as a 'middleman' in the deal, the ED is investigating money laundering charges against him.

Michel had moved the court seeking inquiry to be conducted into the entry of agency officials into the jail without seeking prior permission from the court.

He alleged that the agency officials searched his belongings during the visit of a British counsellor in Tihar on October 22.

On the contentions, the court had earlier directed the jail authorities to submit a report regarding their visit.

Christian Michel's counsel, advocate Aljo K Joseph, had earlier stated that "as per Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, as and when consular access is requested and consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State and to have access to them."

"It is informed by the family of Christian James Michel that during the visit by consular, the ED and CBI officials tried to interfere with the process and checked article and books send by the family," he asserted.

The counsels appearing for the agencies, however, submitted that the officials went there on the Ministry of External Affairs' direction.

Christian Michel was extradited from Dubai in 2018 and is currently lodged in Tihar Jail in connection with alleged irregularities in the chopper deal.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, January 11 2020. 11:56 IST
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