New Delhi, A Special Court on Monday directed the Tihar Jail authorities to submit a report about a visit by officials of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) to the prison at a time when a British Counsellor was meeting Christian Michel, a UK national alleged to be the middleman in Agusta Westland VVIP chopper deal.
The order was passed by the Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar who then scheduled the matter for hearing on November 18.
Michel was taken into custody by the CBI on December 5, 2018 after his extradition from Dubai, while the ED took him into its custody on December 22, 2018 in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal. He is currently in judicial custody in both the cases.
Michel’s counsel alleged that the officials of the investigation agencies did not take the permission from the court before visiting Michel in Tihar.
However, the agencies contended that the visit of the officials was on the instructions from the Ministry of External Affairs.
The agencies also requested the court to direct the jail authorities to produce the records of this visit, contending that it would bring more clarity.
The court was hearing an application moved on behalf of Michel seeking inquiry in the said visit of the officials of the investigation agencies without prior permission of the court.
“As per Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963, as and when a consular access is requested and consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending State shall have the same freedom with respect to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending State,” the application said.
“It is informed by the family of Christian James Michel that during the visit on 22.10.2019 by consular, ED and CBI officials were present and they tried to interfere with the entire process and they checked all the article and books send by the family. Even though it is objected by the consular they tried to go through the articles which were carried by the consular and tried to talk to the Christian James Michel demanded their presence in the meeting,” the application read further.