Within days of seeking enquiry into the alleged leak of the supplementary charge sheet in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, the Enforcement Directorate Friday told a Delhi court that there was nothing wrong if the media published or broadcast its contents.
The agency made the submissions in response to a plea by British-national Christian Michel, alleged middleman arrested in the case who accused the ED of politicising the matter by leaking the documents to the media.
"It was a public document and there was nothing wrong if someone accessed it. It is not that no one was entitled to get a copy. The cognisance was already taken," the ED's counsel said while refuting the allegation that the agency had leaked the documents.
The agency sought dismissal of the application filed by Michel.
In his application, Michel's lawyer had told the court that the copy of the charge sheet was provided to the media before it was provided to the accused.
"Michel has not named anyone in his statement before the agency which is being leaked to media. This is only to make the matter sensational and prejudice the case against my client," the counsel said.
The court, meanwhile, directed the 'ahlmad' (court staff) to file a report containing information related to the charge sheet, including how many copies were filed by the agency.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on April 20 after the accused sought time to submit documents in response to the reply filed by the ED to his application.
Michel had also supported the demand of a probe while accusing the agency of politicising the matter.
Michel, currently in judicial custody, was arrested by the ED on December 22 last year after his extradition from Dubai.
The agency had earlier told the court that Michel received 24.25 million euros and 1,60,96,245 pounds from the AgustaWestland deal.
The ED told the court that it had identified Michel's properties purchased with the proceeds of the crime.
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 in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth 556.262 million euros.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)