January 6, 2019 4:25:11 am
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday told a Delhi court that the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore AugustaWestland deal, Christian Michel, has received money for other defence deals too. Through an application, the ED informed the court that the agency is “inquiring” into the allegations and sought Michel’s judicial custody for 15 days.
Michel was extradited from the UAE on December 4, after which the CBI and ED have kept him in their custody separately. On Saturday, Special Judge Arvind Kumar sent Michel to judicial custody till February 26.
“The accused (Michel) had received Euro 24.25 million from Augusta Westland deal. During the interrogation it is observed that he had also received money for other defence deals, which ED will inquire,” stated the remand application filed by the ED.
“He has given contradictory answers to various questions and he was not able to explain the contradiction,” ED further submitted.
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The ED submitted that the investigation in the case has revealed Michel’s complicity in money laundering and that there are chances that he may flee India if he is released. “The accused is a British Citizen and has no roots in India. There is every likelihood that he may abscond from India and evade the process of law, especially in the light of past conduct. He has been brought before this court through rigorous extradition proceedings. His fleeing away from justice cannot be ruled out,” the remand application submitted through special public prosecutor D P Singh said.
ED informed the court that it has identified his properties purchased allegedly with the money he got as kickbacks for the deal. The agency also told the court that Michel also routed money through hawala operators for “acquiring cash” and “property”.
In the previous hearing, the ED had told the court that during questioning, Michel had taken “Mrs Gandhi’s” name in reference to a query. The agency had said that he then managed to hand over a follow-up question to his lawyer, seeking directions on “what to say”. The ED had called it “a conspiracy to shield or tamper with evidence”.
The court had then curtailed Michel’s legal assistance time from 30 minutes to 15 minutes.
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