Christian Michel bail: Court reserves order, counsel claims Michel has dyslexia

New Delhi: AgustaWestland chopper deal middleman Christian Michel is suffering from dyslexia, his counsel Aljo K Joseph claimed on Wednesday even as a Delhi court reserved its order for December 22 on his bail plea.

“He (Michel) has become weak since he was also in custody in Dubai for five months on CBI’s request. We are ready for any condition of bail. You have already granted bail to other accused. CBI had questioned him five times in Dubai and for 15 days in Delhi. He is suffering from dyslexia, and he has been asked to write in cursive writing,” said Joseph.

Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3600 crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal, arrived in New Delhi on December 05 after being extradited to India from Dubai. He was later sent to CBI custody.

During the hearing at Patiala House Court, the CBI opposed Michel’s bail plea, arguing that he knows certain facts, which put him in a position to influence the investigation.

Joseph claimed that his client was cooperating in the investigation, and hence, is liable to be granted bail.
But the CBI argued that Michel was influential enough to try and remove evidence, saying “He (Michel) was making efforts to run away from Dubai just before his extradition. His dispatches show high links in the defence ministry and people in politics. Many of them are witnesses in our case. We cannot take the chance that he will influence witnesses. We have brought him here with great difficulty.”

The AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal, finalised during the previous government of Manmohan Singh, had got mired in allegations of kickbacks. The 54-year-old Michel is an accused in the case along with some others including former Air Chief SP Tyagi.

According to the Enforcement Directorate charge sheet filed in a court here two years back, Michel had received kickbacks to the tune of 30 million Euros from AgustaWestland for the deal involving a purchase of 12 VIP helicopters. The deal, signed in 2007, was scrapped in 2013 following the bribery allegations.