Argument that bail be given on ground that he has completed half of maximum sentence can’t be accepted: SC
UK national Christian Michel James (centre), in 2018. Pic/AFP
The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied bail to Christian Michel James, an alleged middlemen in AgustaWestland chopper scam cases, who is being probed by both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. The alleged Rs 3,600-crore scam relates to the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland. A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala said that argument of James that he be released on bail on ground that he has completed half of maximum sentence in the cases cannot be accepted.
It, however, said that James may pursue his remedy of regular bail before trial court in the case. James has sought bail under section 436A of CrPC, which says that a person can be released on bail if he has completed half of the maximum sentence for the offence. Advocate Aljo K Joseph submitted that after his extradition from Dubai in 2018, James has spent over four years in jail, while the maximum sentence is seven years.
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Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the CBI and the ED, said the probe is still underway and letters rogatory, which are formal requests from a court to a foreign court for judicial assistance, have been sent to the UAE, the UK and Hong Kong.
Plea to stop Gowri’s judgeship junked
The SC on Tuesday refused to entertain a plea seeking to restrain lawyer Leksh-mana Chandra Victoria Gowri from taking oath as an additional judge of the Madras High Court. Gowri took oath while the hearing was underway. “We are not entertaining the writ petition. Reasons will follow,” said the court. Meanwhile, a bench led by CJI D Y Chandrachud agreed to hear on Wednesday a plea filed by AAP seeking early holding of the mayoral election for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
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