AgustaWestland case: Christian Michel named Sonia Gandhi, 'son of Italian lady', ED to court
ED has claimed that Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, has said that he was in touch with Congress’ Sonia Gandhi.
ED also alleged that Michel was misusing the liberty of legal assistance during his interrogation by passing chits to his lawyers asking how to tackle questions on Congress and Sonia Gandhi. ED said that his custodial interrogation was necessary to unearth the larger conspiracy in the case.
The counsel also claimed that Michel has identified how HAL was removed from the deal and it was offered to Tata instead. ED also sought to bar Michel’s lawyer from meeting him as he was tutoring Michel from outside. Speaking about the same, Michel’s lawyer Aljo Joseph accept in court that Michel handed him the paper and said that it was ED’s fault that they allowed it to happen.
The court then said that lawyers could meet Michel for 15 minutes in the morning and evening instead of usual hour-long meet. However, the court also stated that both lawyer and Michel will have to maintain a distance of three-feet while meeting. ED also sought for further 8 days custody of Michel, but the court extended it by one week.
Michel, lodged in Tihar jail, was produced before Special Judge Arvind Kumar following a production warrant issued on the plea of ED which took him into custody inside the courtroom earlier this month.
The court, which had earlier reserved order on his bail plea in the case, said, “Considering the overall facts and circumstances, serious nature of allegations, gravity of offence and the fact that investigation is at a crucial stage, I do not consider it to be a fit case for grant of bail.”
He is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the ED and the CBI. The others are Haschke and Gerosa. The CBI has alleged there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million - 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 Euro 556.262 million.
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