Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Delhi High Court refuses bail to Christian Michel in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam

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The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant bail to Christian Michel, an accused in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri pronounced the judgement, which was reserved on February 18.

Michael had claimed in his petition that he was illegally taken to custody by the Government of India and the executing agency CBI and deported from Dubai on December 4, 2018.

The illegal detention, deportation and custody was assailed by the applicant before the United Nation Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNHRC WGAD).

The British National was extradited to India from the United Arab Emirate in December, 2018, and has remained in custody since then. He had argued that his extradition from UAE to India was a quid pro quo for Indian authorities sending back Dubai’s Princess Latifa.

Michael’s Advocate had submitted that the trial court had rejected his bail because he did not have roots in India and was likely to flee and this could not be a ground for denial of bail.

CBI had registered a case under Sections 120B (Criminal Conspiracy) & 420 (Fraud) of IPC, along with Sections 7, 8, 9, 12, 13(2) and 13 (1) (d) of Prevention of Corruption Act. Meanwhile, the ED in his charge sheet had stated that Michael received 398 Million Euros (around Rs 2666 crore).

CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 2666 crore to the exchequer in the VVIP Chopper deal and ED has alleged that Christian Michel received around 300 Million Euros or Rs 2666 crore from AgustaWestland during the deal.

The allegation was that the Headquarters of Indian Air Force, after obtaining approval from Raksha Mantri, issued request for proposal to 11 vendors for procurement of eight helicopters for VVIP, replacing the existing MI-8 helicopters.

On January 1, 2014, India had scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbackspaid by it to secure the deal.

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