HC gives two weeks to CBI to file reply on Christian James’ bail plea

AgustaWestland case

NEW DELHI, Nov 13:
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday gave the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) two weeks’ more to file its response to the bail plea of Christian Michel James, an alleged middleman, relating to the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam cases, after the agency said it was about to file a charge sheet in the matter.
Justice Anu Malhotra asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file its response before November 29, the next date of hearing, after the agency said it was going to file a charge sheet in the corruption case and that it will contain names of public servants and bureaucrats.
The CBI sought time from the court to file its response around the same time it will file its charge sheet in the case.
The court, thereafter, listed Michel’s bail pleas in the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) cases on November 29.
Michel, who is in judicial custody since January 5 this year, had been denied relief in both the matters by the trial court.
Subsequently, he moved the high court against the lower court’s decision.
In his plea for regular bail in the corruption case being probed by the CBI, Michel has contended that the entire case depends on documentary evidence which has already been collected by the investigation agency and produced before the special court.
He has also contended in his plea that no economic loss has been caused to the exchequer as Euro 8.35 million was received as compensation by India, which also confiscated three helicopters worth Euro 150 million.
The bail application has contended that all the accused named in the FIR are on bail and no other public servant has been arrested or interrogated in relation to any transaction with him.
It has also said that in the supplementary charge sheet filed by the ED, after interrogating him, no role has been attributed to him with regard to change in specifications of the VVIP helicopters.
It has claimed that Italian courts had acquitted him and all the other accused in the case and therefore, his prosecution here “amounts to double jeopardy”.
Apart from that, the application has also raised medical grounds for grant of bail. It states that Michel has stones in his kidney and has lost weight.
The special CBI court had denied him relief, saying there was no sufficient ground to grant bail.
Michel, extradited from Dubai, was arrested by the ED on December 22 last year.
On January 5 this year, he was sent to judicial custody in the ED case. He is also lodged in judicial custody in another case registered by the CBI in connection with the scam.
Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the ED and the CBI. The other two are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. (PTI)