New Delhi: Christian Michel James, an alleged middleman, has approached the Delhi High Court seeking bail in corruption and money laundering cases filed by the CBI and ED in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.
Michel, who is in judicial custody since January 5 this year and has been denied relief in both matters by the trial court, moved the high court against the lower court's decision.
According to the high court website, both petitions are 'under defect'. It means the petitions have certain procedural infirmities which need to be corrected by the petitioner before they can be listed for hearing.
In his plea for regular bail in the corruption case, Michel has contended that the entire case depends on documentary evidence which has already been collected by the investigation agency and produced before the concerned special CBI court.
He has also contended, in his plea, that no economic loss has been caused to the exchequer as Euro 8.35 million was received as compensation by India which also confiscated three helicopters worth Euro 150 million.
"...in VVIP helicopter contract had a proper integrity pact with a strict clause in it. The Government of India has not lost any money due to this.
"The averment in the order passed by the trial court that there is a huge loss for the public exchequer is absolutely wrong, rather it is huge gain for the government since three helicopters worth Euro 150 million has been confiscated...," his application said.
It further contends that all the accused named in the FIR are on bail and no other public servant has been arrested or interrogated in relation to any transaction with him.
It also states that in the supplementary charge sheet filed by ED, after interrogating him, no role has been attributed to him with regard to change in specifications of the VVIP helicopters.
It claims that the Italian courts had acquitted him and all the other accused in the case and therefore, his prosecution here "amounts to double jeopardy".
Apart from that the application also raises medical grounds for grant of bail. It states that Michel is suffering from kidney stones and has lost body weight.
The special CBI court had denied him the relief saying there was no sufficient ground to grant bail.
Michel, extradited from Dubai, was arrested by the ED on December 22 last year.
On January 5 this year, he was sent to judicial custody in the ED case. He is also lodged in judicial custody in another case registered by the CBI in connection with the scam.
Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the ED and the CBI. The other two are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.