VVIP Chopper Scam: Christian Michel Seeks Judicial Inquiry for Being Shifted to ‘Solitary Confinement’ Cell

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Alleged middleman Christian Michel on Saturday seeks judicial inquiry for being shifted to solitary confinement and violation of his human rights. A Delhi court has sought a report from Tihar Jail. authorities on March 5.

It comes days after Delhi Court on Thursday racked up Tihar Jail Authorities for failing to justify the reasons behind shifting alleged middleman Christian Michel, who was arrested in the  Agusta Westland VVIP chopper case. Special Court Judge Arvind Kumar said Michel said been lodged in jail for last 70 days and what happened suddenly due to which he has now been shifted to the high-security ward.

Deputy Superintendent of Tihar Jail submitted before the court that due to high profile case, he (Christian Michel) has been shifted to Cell Number 2 (High Security). However, Deputy Superintendent failed to explain the sudden shifting of the alleged middleman. He added that high-profile criminals like Chota Rajan, Shahabuddin was kept in the same cell.

“Why was there no threat to his security till now? He was kept with other prisoners for 70 days. This was always a high profile case. If that was the case he should have been kept in a high-security ward since the beginning. Tell me why all of a sudden he was shifted to a ward where hardened criminals were kept,” Special Court Judge Arvind Kumar said during a hearing on Tuesday.

The Court following which directed Director General Tihar Jail to file a comprehensive reply on the reasons that led to the shifting of the Michel.

The Tihar Jail authority denied Michel’s allegations that he was denied common facilities in the new cell-like permission to meet visitors, make phone calls, newspapers and said that though he has been kept in isolation all facilities were provided to him.

Christian Michel’s Counsel Aljo K Joseph said no security threat was put forward for 70 days since he was in custody. He further claimed his client (Michel) was only permitted to make phone calls only after he (counsel) met him, nine days since he was shifted to the new cell.

The court sought the response of the Tihar authorities on this and asked it to submit phone call records if they were contesting the allegations.

The court had on Wednesday sought a detailed report from jail authorities on Michel’s plea claiming that he has been kept in solitary confinement in the prison and had asked the superintendent or competent authority to appear before it to respond to the allegation that he was not allowed to interact with co-prisoners.

Earlier on Tuesday, Court has extended the judicial custody of Christian Michel by One Day.

READ: VVIP Chopper Scam: Delhi Court Extends Judicial Custody of Christian Michel by a Day

Earlier, on February 8, Christian Michel arrested in the Agusta Westland VVIP chopper case,  moved to a court seeking bail in cases by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), saying the charge sheet against him was not filed within the stipulated time frame of 60 days.

The Enforcement Directorate on December 22 arrested British National Christian Michel, the alleged middlemen in the AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper Scam. Christian Michel was produced before the Special Judge Arvind Kumar where the ED sought his custody for 15 days.

Michel is among three foreign nationals that have been Charge-sheeted by the Investigation Agency. Others Include – Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in this findings has alleged there was an estimated loss of 398.21 million euro (approximately ₹2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010, for the supply of VVIP choppers worth 556.262 million euro.

While the Enforcement Directorate in his Charge Sheet dated June 2016 has alleged he received 30 million euros (about ₹225 crore) from Agusta Westland.

The Foreign National, Christian Michel was arrested in UAE and extradited to India on December 04.

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