Michel denied bail for celebrating Easter

New Delhi


A Delhi court on Thursday rejected an interim bail plea of British national Christian Michel -- an alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore AugustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case -- for celebrating Easter.

Michel wished to attend the holy mass on the Easter day and wanted to make religious offerings during those holidays, according to the defence counsel.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar dismissed the bail plea after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) opposed the Michel's application. 

Special Public Prosecutor D. P. Singh told the court that thousands of prisoners are lodged in the jail and have deep faith in their religion. 

"Various festivals are celebrated in India... The agency can't allow Michel to go out of jail to celebrate the festival," Singh added.

However, Michel can participate in Easter in jail, the prosecutor said. 

The agency also said that there are chances that if he is released on bail then he can make a statement outside which can derail in the investigation. 

Michel's counsel Aljo K. Joseph and Vishnu Shankar told the court that the week commencing April 14 is a holy week for the Christians and Easter falls on April 21.

"Michel wishes to attend the holy mass on Easter and would like to make offerings during the Easter days," Joseph said.

The counsel also told the court that Michel has been in the ED custody since before Christmas -- December 22 to 28, 2018 -- and was interrogated by the agency even on the Christmas day. They also apprised the court that despite him being a Christian, he was not allowed to join a holy mass.

Michel has been in custody for more than nine months now and that has affected his health and he has lost more than seven kilogram in the last four weeks, the defence counsel said and urged for a general medical check-up.

"The CBI has given quiet voluminous documents pertaining to the entire case and the ED has also given more than 3,000 pages with regard to the entire investigation and the prosecution complaint filed before this court," Michel said in his plea.

"The applicant (Michel) intends to file a detailed bail application and the counsels for the applicant/ accused are finding it difficult to carry the said documents every time to Tihar Jail for taking proper instructions with regard to the present charge-sheet."

Michel was extradited to India on December 4, 2018 from the United Arab Emirates.IANS