CBI, ED oppose Christian Michel's bail plea

New Delhi (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday opposed bail plea of British national Christian Michel, the middleman accused in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

The CBI told Special Judge Arvind Kumar Kumar that charge-sheet in the case has already been filed against the accused persons including Michel and the court has already started proceedings against them.

Michel has sought bail, saying he has been in custody since December 4, 2018, and as per Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the probe was supposed to be completed by February 3.

But, the charge-sheet was not filed against him within the stipulated 60-day period, so he should be released on bail, Michel's defence counsel told the court.

However, the CBI said that that the provisions of Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure are not applicable in the instant matter.

On its part, the ED said that rather than filing various prosecution complaints in piecemeal, the agency is in the process of filing a detailed and comprehensive prosecution complaint.

The court has listed the Michel's bail plea for further hearing on February 13.

However, the court allowed Michel to meet his lawyer Rosemary Patrizi on condition that she will meet Michel as a general visitor, as per the jail manual of Tihar Jail.

Michel was extradited to India on December 4 from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He is one of the three middlemen being investigated by the CBI and the ED in the VVIP chopper deal.

The Directorate arrested him on December 22, 2018.

In January 2018, the ED had lodged a request with the UAE authorities seeking extradition of Michel. Both the ED and the CBI had filed charge-sheets in the bribery cases in Indian courts and non-bailable warrants had been issued against the accused.

In its charge-sheet, the CBI had named former Indian Air Force chief S.P. Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie, then IAF Vice Chief J.S. Gujral and advocate Gautam Khaitan as the four Indians involved in the scam.

Others named in the charge-sheet included Giuseppe Orsi, the former chief of Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica, and Bruno Spagnolini, former CEO of AgustaWestland, apart from middlemen Michel, Haschke and Gerosa.

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