A Delhi court Monday extended the CBI custody of British national Christian Michel James, the alleged middleman accused in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, by five days. Michel was extradited from the UAE on December 4 and has been in CBI custody since.
CBI Special Judge Arvind Kumar asked the CBI to produce Michel on December 15 after the agency said it needed more time to confront the accused with number of documents and other witnesses.
“He (Michel) is to be interrogated and number of documents are to be confronted (which) have been received from five countries pursuant to the letter of request sent to these countries and incriminating materials (have been received). Accused needs to (be) confronted with some witnesses to unearth the deep rooted conspiracy and to identify his accomplices including IAF officials, bureaucrats and politicians,” CBI’s counsel DP Singh submitted.
The prosecutor further submitted: “He has been non-cooperative. When confronted with documents, he knows when he is in problem and becomes evasive and we have to do elaborate investigation. It will open Pandora’s box.”
Michel’s counsel Aljo Joseph said that the allegation that his client has been non-cooperative is “absolutely wrong”. “He has participated in a trial and was acquitted by an Italian court. There is no incriminating material. The interrogation is just for torture,” Joseph submitted.
Responding to this, Singh said: “He (the counsel) is trying to create a headline. He (Michel) has not been even spoken loudly and has been treated with utmost respect. He is an accused who did not join the trial.”
Joseph further submitted that the Special Power of Attorney (SPA) of the accused, “namely Santrolli Rosemary Patrizi Dos Anjos”, wants to meet the accused once. To this, the prosecutor said: “She is a newsmaker and tells vague things to the press.”
When the judge inquired, Joseph said the vakalatnama of the SPA is “not on record” nor she was present in the court. Joseph withdrew Michel’s earlier bail application and filed a detailed one.
CBI filed another application for collecting “specimen signature and handwriting” of the accused for investigation. CBI also opposed legal assistance provided to the accused twice a day.