AgustaWestland Case: Delhi Court Sends Saxena, Talwar to ED Remand

The Enforcement Directorate had sought custody of Rajiv Saxena and Deepak Talwar after their extradition.

3 min read
Agusta Westland co-Accused Rajiv Saxena (left) and Lobbyist Deepak Talwar (right) have been extradited to India from UAE by the Enforcement Directorate.

Corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar has been sent to seven days of Enforcement Directorate remand by Delhi's Patiala House Court on Thursday, 31 January, reported ANI.

Dubai-based businessman Rajiv Saxena, a co-accused in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, had earlier on Thursday also been sent to four days ED remand by Delhi's Patiala House Court.

ED had sought custody of Saxena for eight days, to which Saxena’s counsel Geeta Luthra responded that the remand request would not hold. “The manner in which he has been brought here is illegal and because the manner is illegal, the remand request automatically becomes incorrect,” Luthra said.

Earlier on Thursday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) took custody of Saxena and co-accused Talwar after the two were deported from Dubai to India in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, reported PTI.

Rajiv Saxena at the Patiala House Court in New Delhi. 
Rajiv Saxena at the Patiala House Court in New Delhi. 
(Photo: ANI)
Two separate ED teams had started questioning the two men at different locations.

The two accused in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal were extradited to India and arrested by the ED in the wee hours of 31 January.

Saxena, who is also an accountant, was deported by Dubai authorities on the basis of a non-bailable warrant issued by a court on the request of the ED, officials said.

A co-accused and alleged middleman in this case, British national Christian James Michel was recently extradited from Dubai to India (in December last year). He is currently in judicial custody.

Saxena's lawyers had earlier alleged that no extradition proceedings were started against him in the UAE and he was not allowed to access his family or lawyers while being sent to India, News Agency ANI reported.

Corporate aviation lobbyist Talwar, was wanted by the ED and the CBI in a case of misusing over Rs 90 crore taken through the foreign funding route as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Talwar has been charged with criminal conspiracy, forgery and under various sections of the FCRA for allegedly diverting Rs 90.72 crore worth of foreign funds meant for ambulances and other articles received by his NGO from Europe's leading missile manufacturing company. His role in some aviation deals during the UPA government's regime is under scanner.

Talwar has been booked by the ED and the CBI in criminal cases of corruption, even as the Income Tax Department has charged him with tax evasion.

The ED had summoned Saxena, a resident of Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, multiple times in the case and had arrested his wife Shivani Saxena from the Chennai airport in July 2017. She is now out on bail.

The ED had alleged that Rajeev Saxena, his wife and their two Dubai-based firms – Ms UHY Saxena, Dubai and Ms Matrix Holdings – routed "the proceeds of crime and further layered and integrated in buying the immovable properties/shares among others".

The ED had said that its probe found that "Agusta Westland International Ltd, UK paid an amount of 58 million Euros as kickbacks through Gordian Services Sarl, Tunisia and IDS Sarl, Tunisia.

“These companies further siphoned off the said money/ proceeds of crime in the name of consultancy contracts to Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius, and others which were further transferred to UHY Saxena, Dubai and Matrix Holdings Ltd. Dubai and others.”
Enforcement Directorate

The ED had said Rajeev Saxena is "beneficial owner" of Interstellar Technologies Ltd and both his companies received proceeds of crime in their respective Dubai bank accounts from this firm.

It had said the couple have remitted/transferred a "huge amount of money" through their Dubai-based companies to various other accounts.

The ED had named Rajeev Saxena in its charge sheet filed in this case and had got issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

On 1 January 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.

Chidambaram Reacts to the Case

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram reacted to the arrests, saying, “It’s when the government becomes prosecutor, judge and jury, they can claim anything.” He added that one should wait till the case had been filed, tried and the guilty had been punished, saying that only when a court punishes the guilty could the goal be achieved.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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