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VVIP chopper case: Court allows CBI plea to take Michel's signature, handwriting samples

VVIP chopper case: Court allows CBI plea to take Michels signature, handwriting samples

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday allowed the CBI plea seeking permission to take signature and handwriting samples of Christian Michel James, the alleged middleman who has been chargesheeted and arrested in the graft-tainted AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar passed the order after Michel's counsel said he had no objections to the CBI's plea and he wanted to prove his client's innocence.

"The application is allowed," the judge said.

Michel, 57, is in CBI custody till December 15.

The CBI, represented through advocate D P Singh, has said Michel's handwriting and signature samples are required to match them with the documents which are already in its possession.

Advocates Aljo K Joseph and Vishnu Shankar, appearing for Michel, said he has no objection to the CBI's plea as the truth has to come out.

The counsel said their only concern was that the samples are sent directly to the forensic laboratory for comparison and not be used for any other purpose.

CBI prosecutor took a strong objection to the submission saying they were raising questions over the integrity of the institution.

The court also allowed Michel's plea to make phone calls to his family members during the CBI custody. The phone has to be on speaker mode and the spoken language should be English, it said.

It, however, turned down the plea to allow him to make phone calls to his manager and a step brother after CBI's opposition.

The agency said Michel's manager was a suspect in the case and his step brother was a barrister and the accused cannot be allowed to speak to them during police custody.

Michel was produced before the court on Monday after expiry of his five-day CBI custody during which he was confronted with various documents relating to the case. It extended his police custody till December 15.

CBI had contended that the accused was "not cooperating" in the investigation and was giving "evasive" answers.

It had argued that Michel was required to be confronted with some witnesses to unearth the deep rooted conspiracy and to identify his accomplices including the IAF officials, bureaucrats and politicians.

His counsel maintained that Michel's police custody was not required any further and no incriminating evidence was shown to him during the interrogation.

He has also filed a detailed bail application which would be heard later.

Michel, who is a citizen of the United Kingdom, was brought to India on the night of December 4, following his extradition by the UAE in connection with the case and was arrested by the CBI.

The next day, he was

produced before the court which had allowed his five-day custodial interrogation by the CBI.

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