An Indian court on Wednesday (19) has adjourned its proceedings to December 22 for its order on a bail petition filed by British businessman Christian Michel, alleged middleman arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case.
The advocate representing the Michel, 57, argued in the court that his client was not required for custodial questioning and there is no point in keeping the accused in the custody of country’s federal probe agency, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
“My handwriting has already been taken. There were no original documents with the CBI to match it with. I have volunteered to provide all the documents,” Michel’s counsel Aljo K Joseph told the court.
Raising its objection against bail petition CBI said, Michel might flee anywhere as he had already tried to escape from UAE just prior to his extradition.
CBI also added that Michel was an influential personality and linked with the persons including ministers, bureaucrats, politicians, and others who are likely witnesses in the case.
“We brought him with so much difficulty. Some new facts have emerged and we need to have follow ups on those. He has not been a cooperative witness. A lot more to be unearthed of out own. He has no roots in India here. He has property etc but he may sell them and go away,” CBI said.
Earlier, the court judge had extended custody by four days on the ground that he required to be confronted with various documents inconnection with the case.
The probe agency said Michel was needed to be taken to the premises of Pawan Hans India Ltd in Mumbai to know the correctness of his alleged attempted negotiations to buy back WG – 30 choppers, to identify the shipper, and to confront the executives of Pawan Hans India.
Michel was in CBI custody for 15 days. He was detained in the UAE and extradited to India on December 4. A court in Delhi sent him to CBI custody for questioning soon after he brought to India. Later, the court had extended his custody for a few more days.
British businessman is one of the alleged middlemen being investigated in the case by country’s federal probe agencies, CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.
According to the CBI, there was an estimated loss of €398.21 million to the state exchequer in the agreement that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply VVIP choppers worth €556.262mn.
Meanwhile the ED, in its charge sheet filed inconnection with the case in June 2016, had alleged that Michel received €30mn from AgustaWestland.