Millennium Post

AgustaWestland case: Tihar jail officials deny Michel's charges

AgustaWestland case: Tihar jail officials deny Michels charges

New Delhi: Tihar jail authorities Thursday denied before a Delhi court the accusations of torture levelled by Christian Michel, the alleged middleman arrested in AgustaWestland chopper scam case.

The authorities also told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that the accused was granted all the facilities according to the jail manual.

The official appearing for the jail also submitted before the court a hard disk containing the CCTV footage, saying it showed that the accused was allowed to walk, access canteen and meet other inmates.

Special Public Prosecutors D P Singh and N K Matta, appearing for the CBI and the ED respectively, told the court that the accused was a foreigner and was brought through extradition.

"There is a responsibility of the country to ensure his security as per the treaty," the counsel said.

The court had on March 11 allowed the ED to quiz Michel inside Tihar jail after the agency's lawyer Samvedna Verma told the court that new facts have emerged in the case which needs his questioning.

The court will now hear the matter on March 16.

On March 12, Michel told the court that former CBI special director Rakesh Asthana met him in Dubai and threatened to "make his life hell inside jail" here if he did not toe the line of the agency.

"Sometime back Rakesh Asthana met me in Dubai and threatened that my life would be made hell in the jail and that's what is going on. My next door inmate is (gangster) Chhota Rajan... I don't understand what crime I have committed to be put along with the terrorists and those who have killed several people," he said.

The jail authorities said Michel was shifted to high-risk prison considering threat to his life. Michel was arrested by the ED on December 22 last year after his extradition from Dubai.

The court previously lashed out at the jail authorities for failing to justify the shifting of Michel to a high-security cell in isolation, saying it will start an inquiry if it does not get a proper response.

Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the Rs 3,600 crore chopper deal scam by ED and Central Bureau of Investigation. The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

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