Michel Accuses CBI & ED of Interfering in Consular Visit in Tihar
Michel was extradited to India on 2 December 2018 and had been in judicial custody in Tihar since January.
One of the main accused in the VVIP chopper AgustaWestland scam, alleged middleman Christian Michel has reportedly filed an application in the CBI court claiming that Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials interfered in his visit with British High Commission officials at Tihar Jail.
Bar and Bench reported that the special CBI court has asked the jail authorities to submit a report seeking clarification on the issue. In his application before the court, Michel has reportedly claimed that officials from both agencies visited him at the same time that the consular officer was supposed to meet with Michel.
According to the report, he also claimed that they “tried to interfere with the entire process and they checked all the articles which were carried by the consular [official] and tried to talk to Christian Michel James”.
Michel Alleges Violation of Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
Taking from the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, Michel has reportedly claimed that British consular access to him was only provided after “4-5 requests” despite the fact that consular access had already been approved in his case.
According to Bar and Bench, in his application, Michel also claimed that the investigating agencies had not sought permission to visit him in prison, whereas these agencies must approach the court for permission to visit the accused while in judicial custody, thus arguing that it was illegal for them to have done so.
The alleged middleman has also reportedly cited the Kulbhushan Jadhav case where India accused Pakistan of denying consular access in violation of Article 36 of the Convention.
Michel was extradited to India on 2 December 2018 from Dubai. Before he was sent to Tihar jail, Michel was in CBI custody for 14 days and after that in ED custody for another 14.
Michel has been in judicial custody in Tihar jail since January and his case is pending before the Delhi High Court. The next hearing is on 18 November.
(With inputs from Bar and Bench)
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