Saxena’s custody needed to identify other accused in AgustaWestland case, ED tells court

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday told a Delhi court that custodial interrogation of Dubai-based businessman Rajiv Saxena will help in identifying other co-accused and he is to be confronted with voluminous material of approximately 20 GB in AgustaWestland deal case.

After hearing the ED submission, Special Judge Arvind Kumar allowed the Directorate to quiz Saxena for another four days. The ED had sought 10 days’ custody of Saxena.

Saxena was presented before the court on expiry of his four-day ED custody, which was granted by the court on January 31. He was extradited from the UAE the previous day.

Special Public Prosecutor D.P. Singh and ED lawyer N.K. Matta told the court that Saxena’s custody is essential to unearth the sequence of events and the role of persons involved in the money trail.

The ED counsel also told the court that Saxena has already identified certain persons.

The Directorate told the court that Saxena’s further custodial interrogation is required for the purpose of confrontation with the voluminous material of approximately 20 GB, which is under process and analysis in the lab and same is to be received on Monday.

According to the ED, in connivance with lawyer Gautam Khaitan, Saxena provided corporate structure across the globe to the laundered money for payment to various political persons, bureaucrats and Air Force officials to influence the contract for supplying 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland.

The ED told the court that Saxena is co-operating in the investigation and he needs to be confronted with Khaitan.

Saxena defence counsel and senior advocate Geeta Luthra opposed ED’s plea seeking further extension of his custody and claimed that his arrest is illegal as he has been illegally extradited by the ED.

The senior counsel also told the court that Saxena is suffering from various medical problems and needs proper medial care.

The ED assured the court of arranging proper medical facility to Saxena. The court also directed the probe agency to provide best medical assistance considering his medical condition.

The UAE security authorities picked up Saxena from his residence in Dubai on Wednesday morning and extradited him to India in the night, along with corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar.

They reached the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in a special aircraft early Thursday.

In Saxena’s case, the ED in its supplementary chargesheet elaborated on how the bribe money paid to clinch the AgustaWestland chopper deal was “layered” and projected as “untainted money” by creating “fictitious invoices”.

It has also mentioned how fictitious engineering contracts were created to hide the kickbacks allegedly paid by AgustaWestland to companies directly controlled by Khaitan — now in ED custody — and Saxena.

A Delhi court had earlier issued a non-bailable warrant against Saxena after it surfaced that he did not join the investigation despite repeated summons.

Saxena’s name was mentioned in a chargesheet filed against his wife, Shivani, who has been out on bail after being arrested by the Directorate.

Saxena was named only in the third supplementary complaint filed in July 2018. The same is also under challenge before the Delhi High Court by another accused in the case, Khaitan.

The ED had earlier arrested Saxena, the Director of Matrix Holdings Dubai, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection with the case.



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