Aljo Joseph, the former Congress leader, serving as a defence counsel of the middleman Christian Michel has alleged that his client had “never named anybody” to the investigative agencies and accused the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of leaking the details of the supplementary charge sheet before sharing it with him.
Appearing for the middleman Christian Michel, lawyer Aljo Joseph said, “He was asked to provide possible initials for the people and that is all he did. He has not named anybody as is being leaked in the media.” On Joseph’s plea, the Special Judge Arvind Kumar issued a notice to ED seeking its response by Saturday.
Joseph also asked the courts to seek an explanation from the ED as to how the charge-sheet got leaked to the media outlets. Joseph insinuated that the agency “surreptitiously” passed on the charge-sheet to the media outlets which are sensationalising the matter by publishing the same in instalments, thereby perpetuating bias even before the court has taken cognisance. On this, the Judge responded claiming that an order can’t be passed without hearing ED’s explanation. The court will decide today if the accused can be summoned and on the cognisance of the charge sheet.
In its 4th supplementary charge sheet filed by the ED, several explosive revelations made by middleman Christian Michel were included. The charge sheet revealed that Michel made attempts to influence media through his aide Douglas, who was in touch with prominent journalists such as Manu Pubby and Shekhar Gupta, asking them to tone down their articles in Indian Express to sway public opinion. Most significantly, however, the charge sheet reveals that as per Christian Michel, ‘AP’ in the retrieved documents stand for Ahmed Patel and ‘Fam’ means Family. The charge sheet also mentioned that there was a nexus of air force officials, bureaucrats and top-brass Congress politicians who colluded to ensure that the contract was awarded to AgustaWestland.
It is interesting to note here that Aljo Joseph was a former Congress leader who was the national in-charge of the legal department of Indian Youth Congress, the youth wing of the party, before being expelled by the party. He was often seen photographed with senior Congress members including Ahmed Patel. Realising that a Congress leader appearing before the court in the VVIP chopper case in which senior Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi are named will raise eyebrows, he was unceremoniously thrown out of the Congress.