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Extradited Saxena, Talwar being interrogated by ED in AgustaWestland chopper case


ANI Politics
Rajiv Saxena, an accused in the multi-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal scam, and lobbyist Deepak Talwar, are being subjected to intense questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which took their custody after they were brought here early this morning following extradition from the UAE.
Saxena and Talwar were brought by a special plane from Dubai and they reached the ED office at 4 am on Thursday, sources in the investigating agency said.
They will be produced before Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar later on Thursday.
The ED will ask for 15 days' remand of both the accused, they said.
India on Wednesday secured the extradition of Saxena and Talwar from UAE, which comes as a major achievement for the investigating agencies after the extradition of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3600 crore deal, in December last year.
Saxena and Talwar were detained in Dubai by the UAE authorities on Wednesday morning following an extradition request by the Indian government, sources said.
They were kept in a house in Dubai by the local authorities on the request of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
ED sources said the External Affairs Ministry was in constant touch with the UAE government for extradition and involved close coordination between the agencies of the two countries.
"They were arrested when all the preparations were made by the Indian side," a source said.
Saxena's lawyer Shivani Luthra Lohiya said her client is an NRI and resident of the UAE for the last 25 years.
She said Saxena was picked up by the UAE authorities from his residence at 9:30 am on Wednesday (local time) and "illegally deported" to India around 5:30 pm (local time).
Lohiya said no extradition proceedings were carried out in the UAE and Saxena was not allowed access to his family or lawyers.
"He (Saxena) is suffering from Leukaemia, diabetes and has previously had stents in his heart. He was taken on a private jet from a private terminal at Dubai International Airport," she said.
Lohiya said when they raised questions, they were asked to speak to the UAE authorities.
The lawyer said she was told that Saxena is on the flight which cannot be stopped.
"This illegal deportation is unprecedented and even Christian Michel went through the legal process before he was extradited," Lohiya said.
On October 6 last year, a court here had issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against Saxena after the ED informed the court that he was not joining the investigation even after repeated summons.
Saxena's name figured in a charge sheet filed against his wife Shivani, currently out on bail after being arrested by the ED.
In December, the ED while responding to Saxena's bail plea, had informed the court about the request for his extradition made to UAE as he had failed to join the investigation even after repeated summons.
On December 5 last year, the UAE government extradited Michel, a British national, to India in connection with the probe into the VVIP chopper scam.
The role of Michel has also been suspected in other deals as well, the ED has told a Delhi court, which sent him to judicial custody till February 26.
The AgustaWestland helicopter deal was signed in 2007, during the UPA government headed by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The deal was scrapped in 2013 after the bribery allegations surfaced.
According to ED charge sheet, Michel had received kickbacks to the tune of 30 million Euros from AgustaWestland for the deal involving the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters.

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First Published: Jan 31 2019 | 2:32 PM IST

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