On Wednesday, a two-judge Supreme Court bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah directed Christian Michel, the accused in the AgustaWestland case to approach the Delhi High Court for interim bail. He moved the SC seeking bail in the wake of the novel coronavirus crisis. While Michel had initially approached the Delhi High Court only, his matter was not listed for hearing. As a High Powered Committee did not consider his name for release to decongest the jail as per the Supreme Court order dated March 23, Michel sought the intervention of the apex court.
Supreme Court today asked the counsel of Christian Michel, accused in AgustaWestland case, to approach Delhi High Court for his interim bail. Michel had approached SC for interim bail in light of prevalent conditions owing to #COVID19 pandemic.— ANI (@ANI) April 1, 2020
In his petition, it was cited that Michel’s health condition was critical and incompatible with the current state of the prison. The plea noted that Michel wanted to live in an environment where the risk of the pandemic was lesser and where social distancing can be effectively practiced. Moreover, it added that he had been in custody since the day of his arrest and further time spent in incarceration under such circumstances would amount to a violation of human rights.
Michel along with two other middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke is accused of bribing politicians and other officials to secure the VVIP chopper deal for AgustaWestland. Despite being a British national, Michel was successfully extradited to India from UAE on December 5, 2018. After spending a few days in the custody of both the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate, he was sent to judicial custody on January 5, 2019. Since then, he has been languishing in Tihar jail as his bail plea before the Delhi High Court is pending.