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Asthana threatened me in Dubai: Michel to court


New Delhi: Alleged AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal middleman Christian Michel told a court here on Tuesday that then CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana had threatened him in Dubai.

Michel said Asthana had met him sometime back in Dubai and threatened to make his life hell inside the jail if he did not support the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its investigation in the case.

Michel, who was presented before Special Judge Arvind Kumar, said he was put in the prison with 16-17 Kashmiri separatist leaders and that his next door inmate is gangster Chhota Rajan.

"I don't understand what crime I have committed to be put along with those who have killed," he asked.

Michel's advocates Aljo K. Joseph and Vishnu Sankar also requested the court to shift him from an isolation cell to a normal cell in jail number 7, where white-collar accused are housed.

Public prosecutor N.K. Matta, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), told the court that this application is an afterthought.

"They filed their application after we filed our application to interrogate him. If they have issues in jail, they can write to the jail superintendent. They are directly moving court," he said.

The court sought report from jail authorities and CCTV footage.

The court had on March 5 directed Tihar Jail authorities to shift Michel to Jail number 1, 3 or 4, which are meant for keeping undertrials.

Matta told the court that the investigating agency had received some more documents and wanted to further interrogate the accused in judicial custody for two days.

The court allowed ED to quiz Michel for two days.

As per the order, the ED is allowed to quiz Michel on March 13 and 14, from 10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., and 2.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.

The court has allowed defense counsel to remain present for one hour during the questioning.

Michel was extradited to India on December 4, 2018 from the United Arab Emirates.

The CBI and the ED had filed charge sheets in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, naming Michel and others as accused.

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