AgustaWestland Scam: Court Raps ED for Arresting Rajiv Saxena

Reports say that Rajiv Saxena is likely to turn approver for the ED in the VVIP chopper scam. 

2 min read
Rajiv Saxena, co-accused in the AgustaWestland deal.

Delhi’s Patiala House Court rapped the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for its request to grant bail to AgustaWestland co-accused Rajiv Saxena, asking why they had arrested him in the first place when they were pushing for his bail.

The ED on Tuesday, 12 February, told the court that Saxena should be granted bail on medical grounds, in response to a bail plea by Saxena. The ED also submitted his medical report to the court.

The court, however, refused to grant a one-day interim bail to Saxena. It will now analyse his medical report and pronounce a judgment on the bail plea on Thursday, 14 February.

Saxena is likely to turn approver in the probe being carried out by the ED in the VVIP choppers money laundering case, reported India Today on Wednesday, 13 February.

The ED is hopeful that Saxena will reveal essential details about the money laundering that went on during the deal. Saxena reportedly has information on the bribe that was paid to politicians, bureaucrats and Indian Air Force officials, the report said.

According to the India Today report, sources have told them that the ED is negotiating with Saxena to become a witness in the case.

On Thursday, 31 January, the ED had taken custody of Saxena after he was extradited from Dubai to India in connection with the case. He had been in ED custody since for questioning in relation to the case.

Who is Rajiv Saxena?

Rajiv Shamsher Bahadur Saxena is a co-accused in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP choppers money laundering case.

Saxena is alleged to have laundered illegal proceeds to pay off various bureaucrats, political figures and air force officials to influence the 2007 contract for supply of 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of British manufacturer AgustaWestland, according to various reports quoting the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The charge sheet filed by the agency claims that Saxena, along with another accused, played a crucial role in providing the corporate structure to launder the kickbacks from the Indian Air Force’s deal with AgustaWestland.

The deal was cancelled on 1 January 2014 after allegations of wrongdoing.

Alleged Role in the Deal

Saxena and his wife Shivani, who is also involved in the case, are owners of two Dubai-based firms, Ms UHY Saxena, Dubai and Ms Matrix Holdings. According to the ED, Saxena and his wife routed “the proceeds of crime and further layered and integrated in buying the immovable properties/shares among others,” reported PTI.

The ED had said that its probe found that AgustaWestland International Ltd, UK paid an amount of 58 million euros as kickbacks through Gordian Services Sarl, Tunisia and IDS Sarl, Tunisia, companies which further siphoned off the money in the name of consultancy contracts to Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius, and others.

Saxena is a “beneficial owner" of Interstellar Technologies Ltd.

This money was further laundered to UHY Saxena, Dubai and Matrix Holdings Ltd. Dubai and other companies in various companies, according to the ED, reported PTI.

The ED also alleged that the couple have transferred huge amounts of money through their Dubai-based companies to various other accounts.

(With inputs from IndiaToday and PTI.)

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