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Court sends Agusta co-accused Saxena to ED custody (Third Lead)


IANS New Delhi
A Delhi court on Thursday sent AgustaWestland co-accused Rajiv Saxena, who was extradited from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Delhi a day earlier, to four-day Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody.
Hours after his extradition, the Dubai-based businessman was produced before Special Judge Arvind Kumar at the Patiala House Court, which sent him to ED custody for his pivotal role in laundering money received to pay kickbacks in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal case.
The agency had sought an eight-day custodial interrogation of Saxena, but the court granted only four days.
Saxena was produced before the court after being questioned by an ED team.
Special Public Prosecutor D.P. Singh told the court that Saxena in connivance with Gautam Khaitan 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.
He told the court that custodial interrogation of the accused will help in determining the role of various accused persons in commission of money laundering, the money trail, payments of kickbacks and to unearth how the kickbacks were routed and laundered.
The prosecutor also told the court that Saxena is required to be confronted with documents.
Saxena's counsel and Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra strongly opposed the plea saying that he was illegally arrested and extradited by 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 directed ED to provide best medical assistance considering the medical condition of the accused.
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.
According to sources, a two-member ED team headed by an Inspector General-rank officer and officials of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) accompanied both the accused in the aircraft.
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 lawyer Gautam Khaitan -- now in ED custody -- and Saxena.
A Delhi court had earlier issued a non-bailable warrant against Saxena after it came to light that he had not joined 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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First Published: Jan 31 2019 | 8:26 PM IST

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