Rs 3,600 Cr VVIP Chopper Case; Accused Rajiv Saxena Extradited To India, To Be In ED Custody For 4 Days
The Logical Indian Crew India
February 1st, 2019 / 2:12 PM
Image Credit: NDTV
On January 31, 2019, Rajiv Saxena, a Dubai-based businessman was taken into custody by Enforcement Directorate(ED) in connection with Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case. According to the ED, he along with accused Gautam Khaitan had created multiple companies to route kickbacks in the deal to “various political persons, bureaucrats and Air Force officials” to get them favour the deal of AgustaWestland, reported The Indian Express. Earlier, Rajiv Saxena and lobbyist Deepak Talwar were brought from Dubai to Delhi in a special plane on Wednesday.
Rajiv Saxena was produced in front of Special Judge Arvind Kumar, who allowed the probe agency to interrogate Saxena for four days in their custody despite the agency’s request for an eight-day remand. He will be produced before the court on February 4, 2019.
Appearing for the accused, Senior advocate Geeta Luthra and advocate Sivani Luthra Lohiya, pleaded that the court should keep in mind the medical condition of Saxena. She asked him to be held in semi Stella room at Hotel Lalit, which is close to the agency’s office. She further mentioned that the accused will pay the cost of the room.
However, disputing the opponent’s plea, Advocates DP Singh and NK Matta who are appearing for the ED said that he will be provided with the best medical facilities and will take care of his medical problem.
Singh further asked the court for Saxena’s remand as it is essential to understand the role of various accused persons in the commission of the offence of money laundering, the money trail, payment of kickback and find out how the kickbacks were routed and laundered.
The Indian Express reported that Saxena would be confronted with primary AgustaWestland middleman Gautam Khaitan, as it is he who stimulated Saxena to float companies to launder kickbacks. Khaitan is now in custody with a separate case of money laundering. The ED believes that Khaitan and Saxena were in close relation to each other for several years. According to ED, both used to refer clients to each other.
Who is Gautam Khaitan and why was he arrested?
Gautam Khaitan, a lawyer, accused in the AgustaWestland scam, has been arrested in a separate money-laundering case. The special judge Arvind Kumar extended his custodial remand by five days on request of Enforcement Directorate stating that Khaitan knows everyone related to defence deals except AgustaWestland.
The Enforcement Directorate has alleged that Khaitan owns several illegal properties and runs “less of a law firm and more of a money laundering business”.
Earlier he was released on bail on accusations related to AgustaWestland scam. He alleged he had been accused under I-T Act, Black money Act and now in money laundering case. He said what is the need to arrest him when he appears every day for the hearing.
What Does ED say?
According to the investigative agency, Rajiv Saxena in connivance with Gautam Khaitan used to provide a global corporate structure for laundering illegal proceeds of the crime for payment to various bureaucrats, air force officials, and political persons to influence the contract for 12 VVIP helicopters by AgustaWestland.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED have registered cases in the VVIP chopper case in which Retd. Air Force Cheif SP Tyagi is one of the primary accused. ED said that Rajiv Saxena holds the position of director of two Dubai-based firms – UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings, the entities through which the proceeds of crime have been routed and further covered and integrated into buying immovable properties/shares.
Over the breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks of Rs 423 crore paid by it to secure the deal, Indian government scrapped off the contract with AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF.
Written by : Debarghya Sil
Edited by : Bharat Nayak