The Delhi High Court today denied bail to a woman director of two Dubai-based firms, arrested in connection with a money laundering case arising out of the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper scam. Shivani Saxena, director of Dubai-based M/s UHY Saxena and M/s Matrix Holdings, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and is presently in judicial custody. "The application is dismissed," Justice A K Pathak said while upholding the trial court's July 29 order dismissing her bail plea. Saxena was nabbed on July 17 by the ED from Chennai under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Recently, the ED chargesheeted her and the companies under various sections of the PMLA. Saxena and her husband Rajiv Saxena are residents of Palm Jumeirah, one of the most expensive properties in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Dubai. The charge sheet, which will be considered by the trial court on September 19, contains the names of Saxena and her husband, also one of the directors in both firms. Rajiv Saxena has been evading ED summons and not joining the probe, the ED has alleged.
The agency has so far not arrayed him as an accused. The ED has alleged that the two Dubai-based firms and Shivani Saxena were the ones through whom "the proceeds of crime have been routed and further layered and integrated in buying the immovable properties/shares among others". The agency claimed its probe found that AgustaWestland, United Kingdom, had "paid an amount of Euro 58 million as kickbacks" through two Tunisia-based firms. "These companies further siphoned off the said money in the name of consultancy contracts to M/s Interstellar Technologies Limited, Mauritius and others which were further transferred to M/s UHY Saxena and M/s Matrix Holdings Ltd, Dubai and others," the charge sheet has said. The ED had also claimed that Rajiv was the "beneficial owner of M/s Interstellar Technologies Limited, Mauritius". It has alleged that both the Dubai-based companies of the couple "received the proceeds of crime in their respective Dubai bank accounts" from the Mauritius-based firm. The ED, in this case, had also arrested Delhi-based businessman Gautam Khaitan who is currently out on bail. The probe in the deal had gathered pace after a Milan (Italy) court in April 2016 had sentenced Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica's former chief Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini on corruption charges in the sale of these helicopters to India. The Milan court order also mentioned the name of former IAF chief S P Tyagi. After this, the ED and the CBI began a fresh round of questioning of the accused in this case and collection of further evidences. The ED had registered a PMLA case in 2014 and named 21 people, including Tyagi, in its money laundering FIR. On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore paid by the firm for securing the deal.
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