A Delhi court on Wednesday sought a detailed report from the Tihar Jail authorities on a plea by Christian Michel, the alleged middleman arrested in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal, claiming he has been kept in solitary confinement in the prison.
Special Judge Arvind Kumar asked the jail superintendent or a competent authority to appear before the court to respond to Michel's allegation that he was not allowed to interact with co-prisoners.
"The director general (prison) shall authorise jail superintendent or some other official who is well conversant with facts to appear before the court on February 28," the court said.
An assistant superintendent present in the court denied the allegation.
He told the court that the British national, extradited from Dubai in December, has not been kept in solitary confinement but was in a high-security cell with all facilities provided to prisoners.
He, however, failed to state the reasons why Michel has been moved to the other cell.
Michel told the court that the cell in which he has been shifted remains fully illuminated 24 hours because of which he was having problems in sleeping.
The plea, filed by advocate Aljo K Joseph, sought direction to Tihar Jail superintendent to treat Michel at par with other inmates and provide basic facilities during his judicial custody.
On February 18, the petition claimed, the jail authorities conducted a search of Michel's cell to look for a laptop computer allegedly being used by him.
It said no computer was found in the cell.
However, the authorities shifted him to a high-security cell immediately after, it said.
"The accused is now kept in solitary confinement in the high-security jail along with other hard-core criminals," it claimed.
The plea claimed Michel's liberty has been curtailed "illegally" and his right to be treated at par with other inmates has been taken away arbitrarily.
It said when Michel asked for reasons for his "solitary confinement", the jail authorities told him it was the "decision from the top" and there was "serious threat" to his life.
It said the high-security cell was "pathetic" compared to the previous cell.
The plea has sought direction to the authorities to return his personal belongings, including a diary containing contact details of officers of the British High Commission and documents of the case, which were taken away after the search.
Michel was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on December 22 after his extradition from Dubai.
On January 5, he was sent to judicial custody in connection with a money-laundering case being probed by ED.
Later, he was also arrested by CBI and is in judicial custody in a CBI case related to the chopper deal scam.
Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the scam by ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation. The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.
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