New Delhi: British national Christian Michel James, the middleman wanted in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, was on Wednesday remanded to five days CBI custody by a Delhi court, which rejected the agencys plea for 14 days custody. Special Judge Arvind Kumar allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to quiz the middleman till December 10.
“The CBI is seeking police remand of 14 days for thorough interrogation and in order to unearth the deep rooted conspiracy and the role of the other accused persons and to confront the accused with the documents.
“Keeping in view the facts and circumstances, submissions made by the parties, I deem it fit to grant five days police remand of the accused,” Judge Arvind Kumar said.
In its remand application, the CBI told the court that an amount of 42.27 million euros was paid by the Westland Group of Companies to the firms of Michel as “kickbacks/bribe without undertaking any work against the receipt of such amount”.
The agency through its lawyer said that custodial interrogation of Christian Michel was needed “to unearth the deep rooted conspiracy and to identify his accomplices including the IAF officials, bureaucrats and politicians who influenced the decisions” which made AgustaWestland eligible to participate in the bidding process and “ultimately bag it”.
Michel’s counsel Aljo K. Joseph vehemently opposed the remand application saying there was no need for a police custody and that none of the documents had been produced in any international court.
Michel was present at the court after he was extradited to India on Tuesday night from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A CBI team escorted him to India in a special plane.