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2-min read

Christian Michel Backtracks on 'Ahmed Patel' Statement, Says Didn't Name Anyone in Chopper Scam

Michel's counsel told a Delhi court that he has not named anyone in his statement before the Enforcement Directorate, which is being leaked to the media. This is only to make the matter sensational and prejudice the case against my client, added the lawyer.

PTI

Updated:April 5, 2019, 7:11 PM IST
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Christian Michel Backtracks on 'Ahmed Patel' Statement, Says Didn't Name Anyone in Chopper Scam
File photo of AgustaWestland scam accused middleman Michel Christian at CBI headquarters in New Delhi. (Image:PTI)
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New Delhi: Christian Michel, the alleged middleman arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, told a Delhi court on Friday that he has not named anybody in connection with the deal during investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, which has filed a supplementary chargesheet.

Michel, who alleged that the central government was using agencies for political agenda, filed an application after reports appeared that the ED in its chargesheet has named politicians of the previous UPA dispensation, defence personnel, bureaucrats and journalists as the beneficiaries of the controversial defence deal.

Michel's counsel appeared with the application before Special Judge Arvind Kumar who issued notice to the probe agency and sought its reply by Saturday, when he will take up the matter.

“Michel has not named anyone in his statement before the agency, which is being leaked to the media. This is only to make the matter sensational and prejudice the case against my client,” said his counsel, Aljo K Joseph.

He claimed that the copy of the chargesheet, which was filed on Thursday, was provided to the media before it was provided to Michel. He has questioned as to how the chargesheet was leaked to the media even before the court had taken cognisance.

The plea said that the trial by a judge and free and fair trial rights override media rights and the court can temporarily curtail the freedom of the media to ensure that.

“The court is duty bound to balance it. Even to ensure a free and fair trial, the court can temporarily curtail the freedom of media to ensure free and fair trial," the plea said. It further said that at the time of filing the chargesheet, the counsels for the accused had asked for supply of copies of the chargesheet but it was objected to by the ED on the ground that the court has not yet taken cognisance of the chargesheet.

“Since this court is yet to take cognisance of the chargesheet, it appeared that the ED has clandestinely provided a copy of the same to the media houses, which were publishing the same in instalments only to sensationalise the issue and prejudice the accused named therein even before cognisance was taken by this court,” the plea claimed.

It said that selective portions of the chargesheet have been published in the media, which make it clear that the ED was not interested in a fair trial in a court of law but in a trial by media.

“The ED is making a mockery of the judicial process, resulting in complete travesty of justice. The extradition treaty prohibited the extradition of accused involved in the political offences and the government is now using the ED and all the investigating agencies for the political purpose. The supply of the chargesheet to the media houses is the best example of that," it said.
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