NEW DELHI: A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) claimed in a Delhi court that Christian Michel had named prominent Congress leaders like “Mrs Gandhi” and ‘AP’ in connection with kickbacks in the AgustaWestland chopper scam case, Michel, an accused in the case, told the court on Friday that he had not named anyone.
British national Michel, alleged middleman in the case, also accused the agency of “acting as a weapon in the hands of the government”.
Michel further said that the government was using investigative agencies for “political purpose” by sensationalising the case and “clandestinely” leaking the charge sheet to media even before giving the charge sheet to the accused.
On Thursday, the ED filed its fourth supplementary charge sheet in the case, alleging that Michel had named “Mrs Gandhi” and ‘AP’ in connection with the deal during an investigation by ED.
Michel made the allegations by filing an application seeking the court’s intervention after the reports appeared that the ED, in its charge sheet, had named politicians of the previous UPA dispensation, defence personnel, bureaucrats and journalists as beneficiaries of the controversial defence deal.
The application was filed before Special Judge Arvind Kumar, who issued a notice to the probe agency and sought its reply by Saturday, when he will take up the matter.
“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,” Michel’s counsel Aljo K Joseph said.
The lawyer also questioned as to how the charge sheet was leaked to the media even before its cognisance was taken by the court. The plea said that trial by a judge and free and fair trial rights override media rights, and the court can temporarily curtail the freedom of the media to ensure that.
The plea claimed that at the time of filing the charge sheet, the counsels for the accused had asked for copies of the same, but it was objected to by the ED on the ground that the court had not yet taken cognisance of the charge sheet.
Terming ED’s act contrary to law, Michel alleged selective portions of the charge sheet being published in the media make it clear that the ED was not interested in a fair trial in a court of law but in a trial by the media.