Christian Michel, the alleged AgustaWestland middleman, who was in the CBI custody for two weeks since his extradition by Dubai on December 4, is in judicial custody till December 28. The British national has been staying at Delhi's high-security Tihar jail since Wednesday, but he now wants a separate cell.
Michel's lawyer has applied in a Delhi court requesting that he be moved to a special cell as fellow inmates were "asking him questions" and "harassing him".
The 54-year-old is one of the three alleged middlemen being investigated in Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper scam for allegedly organising bribes for Indian politicians and bureaucrats to push for the AgustaWestland deal, involving 12 luxury choppers, during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.
During his days at the CBI guest house at the headquarters, the agency had ensured he had a comfortable stay in an air-conditioned suite, which offered other facilities as well. As Michel loves Indian food, he was given chane ki daal, boiled rice and chappati at the CBI headquarters.
"He regularly visited India and stayed in Safdarjung Enclave. He loves Indian food and we have been serving him a healthy diet," a senior officer involved in AgustaWestland probe had told NDTV.
However, Michel remained non-cooperative, an officer told the court.
"Michel insists on reading all documents and after spending hours scanning them, he says he does not want to reply. He has been evasive in giving answers during interrogation," a senior CBI officer said.
The CBI told the court that Michel claimed to be dyslexic, a tactic to counter every question by deflecting it to the other middleman being investigated in the case, Guido Haschke.
All of the CBI team's top officers, including joint director Sai Manohar, reportedly tried their luck but failed to get Christian Michel to speak up.
The court is due to hear his bail plea on Saturday.
In his bail request, the accused told the court that he had cooperated during his 14-day CBI custody. But the CBI opposed his plea saying the accused was very influential and capable of hampering the probe.
"If granted bail, Michel may flee the country as he already tried to escape from Dubai just before the extradition to India early this month," the agency added.