The Patiala House Court on Saturday granted the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seven days judicial custody of Christian Michel in the money laundering case and rejected the bail plea of the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland case.
ED had sought 15 days custody in the money laundering case against Michel, seeking time to establish the whole chain from where the money came, and where it went, who paid the money and who did it go to.
Michel's counsel argued that the Indian agencies had been mistreating him, and had been misleading international authority, Italian authority and UAE. But such claims were rejected by the agency, which informed the court that Michel was allowed to meet his lawyer on a daily basis.
This comes a day after the court issued production warrant against Michel in the money laundering case. The court was responding to ED's plea where it sought production warrant of the alleged AgustaWestland middleman.
Michel was arrested in the UAE and extradited to India on December 4. The next day, he was produced in the court which allowed his five-day custodial interrogation by the CBI which was later extended by five more days. After the custody period got over, the court extended it by a further four days.
The ED, in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.
Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the CBI. Both the agencies have notified an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
Michel was a middleman in the deal to acquire choppers to be used for VVIPs in India that underwent numerous and questionable changes during the UPA regime, including allegations that the criteria were changed to suit a particular company. He may also hold the key to deciphering a notebook recovered in the probe into the AgustaWestland 'Choppergate' scam that contained numerous initials alongside what appeared to be sums of money.