AgustaWestland case: Delhi HC rejects middleman Christian Michel’s interim bail plea

AgustaWestland case: Delhi HC rejects middleman Christian Michel’s interim bail plea

Agency News

New Delhi, Apr 8: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed bail plea of Christian Michel, an alleged middleman in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam case.

Christian Michel had filed a petition seeking Interim bail plea by submitting that his age and health condition are at risk of contracting the COVID-19 infection. He submitted that his health condition in Tihar Jail is very critical and incompatible with the current prison status, especially with the risk of contracting COVID-19, which could have a lethal effect. He assured to abide by all the conditions imposed by the court if granted bail.

Government Counsel for Central Bureau of Investigation opposed the plea by stating that the accuse did not join the investigation anywhere and was extradited from Dubai after a long drawn process so he is not entitled to bail. Government Counsel for Directorate of Enforcement submitted that the petitioner is presently lodged at the safest place in the country -- the Tihar Jail. He further submitted that there is no threat of Michel coming in contact with any COVID-19 patient and his apprehension that due to his age and being a British national not accustomed to Indian conditions his immunity is low is totally unfounded so the present application for interim bail may kindly be dismissed in the interest of justice at this stage.

Michel was extradited from Dubai in 2018 in connection with alleged irregularities in the chopper deal. The CBI is probing his alleged role as a middleman in the deal while the ED is investigating the case registered under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Delhi High Court Justice Mukta Gupta today, after hearing the arguments, observed that the apprehension of the petitioner being infected by COVID-19 is unfounded as he is lodged in a separate cell with only two other prisoners. The Court refused to grant interim bail to Michael by saying that the petitioner, failing to qualify on three criteria laid down by the High Power Committee, which was set up to decongest the prisons in the National Capital amid Coronavirus fears. It observed that committee had decided not to release Foreign Nationals involved in more than one case and not being on bail in others cases. (UNI)