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Agusta Westland case 'middleman' Christian Michel sent to 7-day ED remand

Michel had earlier been sent to ED custody for seven days on December 22. He was arrested on December 5 after being extradited to India from Dubai. 

Agusta Westland case 'middleman' Christian Michel sent to 7-day ED remand

NEW DELHI: Alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal Christian Michel will remain in Enforcement Directorate's custody for seven more days, Delhi's Patiala House Court ruled on Saturday. 

The court also ordered Michel’s lawyers to maintain a distance while meeting him. The lawyers have been restricted to meeting Michel for 15 minutes every morning and evening. The order comes after the ED had sought a ban on Michel's lawyer's access to him alleging that the Britisher was being tutored from the outside.

However, his lawyer Aljo K Joseph told court that Michel had a query regarding something and needed a legal opinion on the same. The lawyer admitted that Michel tried to give them something but it was immediately pointed out that he was slipping a paper and it was taken away before they could have a look.

During the hearing, the ED said that Michel has named 'Mrs Gandhi' during the interrogation. ED also said that he has also spoken about 'the son of the Italian lady' and how he is going to become the 'next prime minister of the country'. 

The ED told the court that Michel has identified how the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was removed from the deal and was later offered to Tata instead. 

Michel had been sent to ED custody for seven days on December 22. He was arrested on December 5 after being extradited to India from Dubai. 

The Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal, finalised during former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's tenure, was mired in allegations of kickbacks. 54-year-old Michel is an accused in the case along with former India's Air Force Chief, Air Marshal SP Tyagi, among others.