New Delhi: Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal scam on Friday said that he has not named anybody in connection the case during investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, which has filed a supplementary chargesheet yesterday. Michel, the key accused in the case had filed an application before a Delhi court after reports appeared that the ED in its fourth chargesheet has named politicians of the previous UPA government, defence personnel, bureaucrats and journalists as the beneficiaries of the controversial defence deal.
In the court, Michel’s counsel, Aljo K Joseph said,”He (Michel) has not named anyone in his statement before the agency, which is being leaked to the media. This is only to make the matter sensational and prejudice the case against my client.” Alleging that the copy of the chargesheet was given to the media before it was provided to Michel, Joseph asked,”How the chargesheet was leaked to the media even before the court had taken cognisance.”
“The court is duty bound to balance it. Even to ensure a free and fair trial, the court can temporarily curtail the freedom of media to ensure free and fair trial,” the plea said. It further said that at the time of filing the chargesheet, the counsels for the accused had asked for supply of copies of the chargesheet but it was objected to by the ED on the ground that the court has not yet taken cognisance of the chargesheet.
The plea claimed,”Since this court is yet to take cognisance of the chargesheet, it appeared that the ED has clandestinely provided a copy of the same to the media houses, which were publishing the same in instalments only to sensationalise the issue and prejudice the accused named therein even before cognisance was taken by this court.”
It added that selective portions of the chargesheet have been published in the media, which make it clear that the ED was not interested in a fair trial in a court of law but in a trial by media.
“The ED is making a mockery of the judicial process, resulting in complete travesty of justice. The extradition treaty prohibited the extradition of accused involved in the political offences and the government is now using the ED and all the investigating agencies for the political purpose. The supply of the chargesheet to the media houses is the best example of that,” it said.
Some reports say that as per the supplementary chargesheet, Michel said that ‘AP’ stood for Ahmed Patel and ‘Fam’ stood for Family. Abbreviations were used to record kickbacks of 30 million euros to ‘Air Force officials’, ‘bureaucrats’ and even ‘top leaders of the (then) ruling party’. However, sources said the leaders were not named as accused. The Patiala House Court will be hearing the matter next on April 6.
(With agency inputs)