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Delhi court extends Christian Michel’s CBI custody by four days

Michel’s defence counsel had opposed the plea for further extension of custody.

SNS | New Delhi |

The CBI custody of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper scam, was extended by four days by a Delhi court on Saturday.

The extension gives CBI more time to question Michel.

The CBI had requested the Patiala House Court for an extension of five days stating that they wanted to confront Michel with some documents and witnesses. The central agency also wanted to take him to Mumbai.

The court also allowed Rosemary Patrizi, a lawyer who said she represented him for almost 5 years in Italy and Switzerland, to talk to Michel for 10 minutes but refused to let her visit the British national in CBI custody.

According to reports, the CBI had raised questions on Patrizi’s credentials. The agency reportedly said that it will have to make Patrizi a witness owing to the statements made to the media by her.

In her argument, Patrizi said that there is no order barring her from speaking to the press.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Patrizi said that she fears for her arrest.

“I’m afraid they’ll arrest me because I know everything about Christian Michel. I hope nothing bad happens to me, I came here to help. I hope I can go back and be at my home on Christmas,” she said.

Michel’s defence counsel had opposed the plea for further extension of custody.

The alleged middleman was presented in the court after a five-day CBI custody. He was extradited to India on 4 December from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The CBI had last week cited “non-cooperation” on the accused’s part to seek nine-day custody. The court had then allowed only five.

Michel is one of the three alleged middlemen – the others being apart from Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa – under investigation over charges of organising bribes for Indian politicians and bureaucrats to push for the AgustaWestland deal, involving 12 luxury choppers, when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was still in power.

Michel’s bail plea will be heard on 19 December.