AgustaWestland: ED to quiz Sushen Gupta

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New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) A Delhi court on Tuesday allowed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to quiz businessman Sushen Mohan Gupta, an alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

Gupta was presented before Special Judge Arvind Kumar who remanded him to four days in ED custody.

He was arrested a day after the court allowed Dubai-based businessman and alleged middleman in the deal, Rajiv Saxena, to become an approver in the case.

The ED has alleged that Saxena in his disclosure statement has revealed that Interstellar Technologies, a company which received AgustaWestland kickbacks, was controlled by lawyer Gautam Khaitan and Sushen Gupta. Saxena also presented two diaries, some loose sheets, and other documents and a pen drive which all related to Gupta.

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The Directorate had sought his custody on grounds that he is required to be confronted with the documents related to the case and unearth how the kickbacks were routed and laundered.

The ED said that it has to identify where the tainted money was placed, layered and integrated into the system.

The agency said that Gupta was not co-operating in the investigation.

The agency also told the court that Gupta had to be confronted with other accused persons and evidence collected during investigations including the voluminous material received through letters of request (LRs) to unearth the entire money trail.

The ED said that his custody would help them to ascertain the true nature of transaction and to confront him with the documents including those seized by the Italian Police.

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Gupta’s counsel had opposed the ED plea and said that he was co-operating in the investigation.

Sources close to Gupta’s family said that the allegations that have been levelled against Gupta were baseless and in the last two years he had appeared almost 20 times before the agencies probing the case.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) security agencies had picked up Saxena from his Dubai residence on January 30 and extradited him to India. He was granted bail on medical grounds last week. The ED did not oppose his bail application.

According to the ED, Saxena, in connivance with lawyer Gautam Khaitan, provided the global corporate structure that laundered money for payment to various political leaders, bureaucrats and Indian Air Force (IAF) officials to influence the contract for supplying 12 VVIP choppers in favour of AgustaWestland, the Rome-based helicopter design and manufacturing company.

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–IANS

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