Business

Agusta Westland: Court seeks ED response on woman Director's bail plea

Agency | September 27, 2017 06:48 PM

NEW DELHI: A court here on Wednesday asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to file a reply on the bail plea of a woman Director of a Dubai-based company in a money-laundering case related to the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

Shivani Saxena has urged Special Court Judge Arvind Kumar to grant her bail, citing her health condition. The court listed the matter for October 6.

On September 13, the ED charge-sheeted Shivani Saxena under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The ED, in June last year, filed the first supplementary chargesheet in the case against British national Christian Michel James, Delhi-based Media Exim Pvt Ltd and its Director R.K. Nanda and former Director J.B. Subramaniyam in its ongoing money-laundering probe in the Rs 3,600-crore helicopter deal.

The first charge sheet was filed in the case in November 2014 against businessman Gautam Khaitan, his wife Ritu, Chandigarh-based firm Aeromatrix and two alleged Italian middlemen Guido Ralph Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

The charge sheet said that the three alleged middlemen managed to make inroads into the Indian Air Force to influence and subvert its stand on reducing the service ceiling of helicopters from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres in 2005, after which AgustaWestland became eligible to supply a dozen helicopters for VVIP duties.

Shivani, wife of Rajeev Shamsher Bahadur Saxena, a resident of Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, was arrested on July 17.

The ED alleged that Shivani and her husband Rajeev were partners and Directors in Dubai-based companies UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings Ltd, through which proceeds of the crime were routed and used in buying immovable properties and shares.

According to the agency, Britain-based AgustaWestland International Ltd paid 58 million euros in kickbacks, through Tunisia-based Gordian Services Sarl and IDS Sarl, who transferred the money to Mauritius-based Interstellar Technologies Ltd in the guise of consultancy contracts and this firm, in turn, sent the money to these two Dubai companies.

Shivani Saxena was the second accused arrested by the ED in the case. In 2014, the agency had arrested lawyer Gautam Khaitan for his alleged role in routing the kickbacks in the purchase of 12 AW-101 helicopters. Currently, Khaitan is out on bail.

The case is based on the investigation being conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which had arrested former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi and two others in connection with the case in 2016.

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