Thu, 08 Dec 2022

New Delhi [India], November 22 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will hear the bail plea of British citizen Christian Michel, accused in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, on November 28.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli and JB Pardiwala adjourned the case to Monday after the counsel appearing for probe agencies urged it to hear it next week.

Earlier, the apex court had issued notices to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the bail petition of Michel in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam being probed by the agencies.

ED had earlier opposed the bail plea of Michel and told the Supreme Court that he has tried to pass confidential papers to his counsel at the time of legal access.

It had said that further investigation in the present case is still ongoing and many crucial documents are required to be collected across jurisdictions for the purpose of the investigation therefore it is strongly apprehended that he might try to tamper the witnesses or evidence and obstruct the judicial process.

The investigating agency told the bench that the role of Michel is clearly established and the offence of money laundering is squarely made out against him.

Michel had challenged in the apex court the March 11 order of the Delhi High Court which had refused to grant him bail.

CBI had said that he is a flight risk and it fears that because of the way the British government is helping him, he might flee and will never return.

Michel had contended before the High Court that all the other accused in the case got bail in 60 days and he is the only one who hasn't been given bail.

According to the bail petition, Michel said, "as a bail condition he will be available to join the investigation and trial as and when required and has never sought to evade the process of law."Earlier, the trial court had rejected his bail plea and had shown its displeasure with the British High Commission for sending a letter addressed to it stating that the medical condition of Michel and his pre-trial detention of two and half years may be taken into account when his bail application is considered.

Christian Michel James was extradited in 2018 after India won the extradition case in Dubai. Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the deal, was deported from the UAE and is currently in judicial custody. The Dubai-based businessman Rajeev Saxena was extradited to India on January 31, 2019, in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore alleged scam relating to the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland. (ANI)

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