Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in AgustaWestland chopper scam case, claimed in a Delhi court on Tuesday that former Central Bureau of Investigation special director Rakesh Asthana met him in Dubai and threatened to 'make his life hell inside jail' in New Delhi if he did not toe the line of the agency.
The statements were made by Michel before Special Judge Arvind Kumar, who allowed the Enforcement Directorate to interrogate him inside Tihar Jail in Delhi on Wednesday and Thursday.
"Sometime back Rakesh Asthana met me in Dubai and threatened that my life would be made hell in the jail and that's what is going on. My next door inmate is (gangster) Chhota Rajan... I don't understand what crime I have committed to be put along with the terrorists and those who have killed several people," he said.
Michel, who was brought before the court in pursuance to production warrant issued against him, also told the judge that he was put in the prison with 16-17 Kashmiri separatist leaders but it was denied by the jail authorities which said he was shifted to high-risk prison considering threat to his life.
The court took note of Michel's submission alleging mental torture inside the jail and directed Tihar jail authorities to produce the CCTV footage and reports by Thursday based on which he was shifted to a high-security ward.
The court said a jail official will remain present and Michel's lawyer will also be allowed limited access during interrogation for half an hour in the morning and in evening.
While seeking to quiz Michel, the ED's special public prosecutor N K Matta told the court that after the accused was remanded in judicial custody, certain subsequent facts and developments came to the knowledge of the ED through examination of witness and procurement of certain documents.
"It is thus necessary for the ED to interrogate and record the statement of the said accused u/s 50 PMLA, who is currently in the custody of this court, and/or to confront him with the documents/statements so recorded.
"The same would enable the ED to ascertain and unearth the relevant aspects of the case under investigation," ED's lawyer Samvedna Verma told the court.
The court had sought Michel's presence before it after his lawyer alleged mental torture inside the jail.
"It is pertinent to mention here that at the high risk cell in the jail number 1 there are two police guards always watching the applicant 24 hours. He is not allowed to neither interact nor walk around in the prison.
"The liberty of the applicant is completely curtailed by the jail authority without any reason," the accused told the court.
The jail authorities denied the allegations made by the accused and told the court that he was put in high security jail because there was serious apprehension of attack on him.
"He has been provided with each and every facility given to others. He is put in a separate cell because he might be attacked if he remains with others," the authorities said.
Michel was arrested by the ED on December 22 last year after his extradition from Dubai.
The court previously lashed out at the jail authorities for failing to justify the shifting of Michel to a high-security cell in isolation, saying it will start an inquiry if it does not get a proper response.
Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the chopper scam by ED and Central Bureau of Investigation.
The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.