Christian Michel, the middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland scam faces judicial heat yet again. A Delhi court has rejected Michel’s interim bail plea to celebrate Easter. He is a British national and an accused in the VVIP chopper deal.
— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) April 18, 2019
The order was passed by Special Judge Arvind Kumar who had earlier reserved the judgment until 4 pm. The judgement was passed after lawyers from both sides presented their arguments.
Michel’s lawyers Aljo K. Joseph and Vishnu Shankar told the court that the week from April 14 to 21 is a holy week for the Christians and Easter falls on April 21. “Michel wishes to attend the holy mass on Easter and would like to make offerings during the Easter days,” Michel’s lawyer said. They said that despite being Christian, their client was not allowed to pray in a holy mass.
DP Singh, special public prosecutor, appearing for CBI and ED opposed Michel’s plea on the ground that India is a country of various festival and thousands of prisoners are in jails. He further added that every prisoner has faith in religion and as such Michel can’t be allowed to go out of jail to celebrate festivals.
Singh also argued before the court that if Michel comes out on interim bail and makes a statement outside, it can derail the investigation. So, this year Michel will have to celebrate Easter sans his family and friends. He has been in custody since he was extradited to India from Dubai on December 22, 2018. His extradition is viewed as a massive diplomatic victory for India in the global political scenario.
This is the second time in four months that Michel’s bail plea has been rejected by the Delhi court. Earlier, he was denied bail on February 17, 2019. This was done after investigating agencies CBI and ED had expressed their apprehensions before the Special Court that he could use his political clout to flee India while the investigation is under process.
Michel along with Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa is among the three middlemen who are under the scanner by ED and CBI in this high profile chopper scandal. Michel is important in this probe due to his technical operational knowledge of the aircraft, the military bases and the pilots.