ED gets seven more days of custody to establish money trail as Indian officials who Christian Michel met as part of the bribery scandal. ED is also looking for all the places where these meetings were held.
New Delhi: AgustaWestland kickback case took a decisive turn on Saturday when the Enforcement Directorate told the Patiala House Court that British middleman Christian Michel had taken the name of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi during his interrogation.
The ED had produced Michel in court today after his remand came to an end.
The reference to "Mrs Gandhi", however, was made in what context is not yet clear. The ED also said that he had conversed in codes.
ED said that Michel had passed on the information about this interrogation through a chit he had given to his lawyer.
Moreover, ED has sought the court to ban Michel from meeting his lawyers as it alleged that the suspect was being “tutored” by his lawyers under influence from “outside”.
The judge ordered Michel’s lawyers to maintain a distance of three-feet between themselves in meetings and restricted the time limit for the meetings to 15 minutes every morning and evening.
The ED also sought eight days more custody of Michel for further interrogation and to delve into such phrases as “…son of Italian lady…he will become the next PM of India…”.
The ED told the court that they needed this time to find the identities of the officials he met in India, the places that he visited and where he met other accomplices. The ED also wants to establish the money trail beyond doubt.
On December 22, Michel was sent to seven days’ police custody. Earlier, Michel appeared in the court in Delhi on Saturday to plead for bail even as the CBI opposed the plea of SP Tyagi who had requested the court to allow them to travel abroad.
The court has reserved its order on SP Tyagi until January 24.
Michel had appealed to the court also for moving him to a different jail or a different cell in the jail as other inmates were allegedly harassing him with questions pertaining to the alleged scandal in the VVIP helicopter deal. To that, the court directed the jail superintendent to take care of Michel’s security.
A day after Michel’s extradition, the court had granted the CBI a five-day custodial interrogation of Michel. This was extended by five more days subsequently, and then for four more days.
The court had reserved the order on Michel's bail plea until December 19.
Michel’s judicial custody will last till December 28, subject to further orders by the court.
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Last Updated Dec 30, 2018, 4:10 PM IST