A Delhi Special Court Saturday rejected the bail applications of Christian Michel James, arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.
“Both the bail applications are dismissed,” Special Judge Arvind Kumar said.
Michel’s in his bail applications, filed in both Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) case, had stated that he has been in custody since December 4, 2018 in the case registered by CBI and December 22, 2018, in case by ED and the investigation had to be completed by February 03 in terms of Section 167(2).”
However, the two investigating agency probing Michel’s role in the VVIP chopper deal had told a special court Tuesday that the accused may flee from India if given bail as he “enjoys close proximity and influence with highly-placed persons”.
The CBI and ED had argued that Michel, who is an alleged middleman in the chopper deal, has “no roots in India and his past conduct makes, amply clear that there exists a reasonable apprehension of him evading the process of law”.
The agency had said that the accused is also “closely linked to certain influential people and there exists a reasonable apprehension of the applicant tamper with the evidence of the instant case”.
After being extradited to India from Dubai, Michel was produced before the CBI Court on December 5, 2018. He is presently in judicial custody till February 26.
Michel’s earlier bail application in the CBI case was rejected by the court on December 22 last year after it observed that investigation was at a “crucial stage” which did not make it a “fit case” for bail.
The agency had also said that the conduct of the applicant till date has been “evasive” and he is “released on bail, he may influence the potential witnesses to be examined and may destroy the relevant documents yet to be collected. The accused enjoys close proximity and influence with highly-placed persons”.
It is CBI’s case that Michel entered into as many as 12 contracts with AgustaWestland to legitimize the illicit commission/ kickbacks of Euro 42.27 million received on the procurement of VVIP helicopters by Government of India.
Consequently, ED also initiated proceedings in terms of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 against Michel.