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AgustaWestland co-accused Rajiv Saxena, Deepak Talwar extradited to India

Saxena was picked up by UAE security authorities from his residence and extradited to India for his pivotal role in laundering the money received to pay kickbacks in Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland case

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Rajiv Saxena
Rajiv Saxena, co-accused in AgustaWestland case

Rajiv Saxena, the co-accused in Rs 3,600-crore chopper deal case, and were extradited to in the early hours of Thursday from (UAE), in another breakthrough for the government which managed successful extradition of Christian in December last year.

The extradition comes as a major boost to the Indian agencies investigating corruption angles in two separate cases involving and Talwar.

Informed sources said a two-member ED team headed by an and officials of and Analysis Wing (R&AW) have accompanied both the accused to from in the aircraft which landed at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport here around 2.30 am.

Soon after the aircraft landed, Talwar was taken into (ED) custody, sources said.

After completing the immigration process and medical examination, he was moved to the ED's Jamnagar House office here. There was, however, no clear information on Saxena's whereabouts.

was reportedly picked up by the UAE security authorities from his residence on Wednesday morning and extradited to in the evening for his pivotal role in laundering the money received to pay kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore scam.

Besides Saxena, the agencies also brought Talwar to as he fled to after the Indian agencies started probing his role for concealing income of more than Rs 1,000 crore as well as facilitating aviation contracts during the regime. He is accused of brokering aviation sector deals, getting government approval in foreign companies, securing favours for clients and having ties with functionaries.

In case, the ED in its supplementary charge sheet had elaborated on how the bribe money paid to clinch the chopper deal was "layered" and projected as "untainted money" by creating "fictitious invoices".

In its charge sheet, the ED has also mentioned how fictitious engineering contracts were created to hide the kickbacks allegedly paid by AgustaWestland to directly controlled by Gautam Khaitan -- now in ED custody -- and his associate Saxena.

A court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Saxena, a in Dubai, after it knew that he had not joined investigation despite repeated summons against him.

Saxena's name was mentioned in a charge sheet filed against his wife, Shivani, who is out on bail now after being arrested by the ED.

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

In a statement, Saxena's lawyers and meanwhile claimed "there was no extradition proceedings started in the UAE" and that their client was neither allowed to access his family or lawyers, nor did he get his essential daily medicine.

Saxena and Talwar were extradited like and the middleman in the AgustaWestland case, Michel, 57, who was brought to India on December 4, 2018 following his extradition by the UAE. He is currently in ED custody.

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

On January 1, 2014, India cancelled 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 on charges of paying kickbacks amounting to Rs 423 crore.

First Published: Thu, January 31 2019. 04:56 IST