CBI believes any allegation of custodial misbehaviour by Michel will hurt its efforts to extradite fugitives Vijay Mallya & Nirav Modi.
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is being very cautious while dealing with Christian Michel James, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case who was extradited by UAE authorities to India.
The reason: Any allegation of custodial misbehaviour by Michel, a British national, may hurt its efforts to extradite Indian fugitives Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi.
Therefore, CBI has handpicked officers from different units to create a “refined” SIT (Special Investigation Team) under the leadership of CBI joint director, A. Sai Manohar, who will supervise the entire investigation, sources told ThePrint.
“Usually one unit looks after a particular case but this time the agency does not want to take any chances,” a source said. “So, officers who will look into the matter and interrogate Michel have been handpicked from across units in the CBI.”
Sources also said that as of now, Michel is not being subjected to any hard questioning. “He is being given printed questionnaires that he has to fill and submit. Every day he is given a separate questionnaire that he can fill at his own pace,” a source said.
Agency to seek custody extension, chief stays away from the case
Michel is being kept in the CBI headquarters after a district court granted the agency five-day custody. The agency also plans to seek an extension of the custody, an appeal for which will be made at the next hearing.
The CBI interim chief, Nageshwar Rao, has also refrained from formally supervising Michel’s questioning, ThePrint has learnt.
“It is possible he has done that because of the Supreme Court’s order to not take any policy decision,” a source said. “The entire investigation is being taken care of by joint director A. Sai Manohar.”
Michel has been granted consular access after a formal request from the British High Commission. He is also being allowed to meet his lawyer twice a day, for an hour each, sources said.
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