New Delhi: A Delhi court today took cognisance of a charge sheet filed by Enforcement Directorate (ED) against five accused, including two Italian nationals, in connection with a money laundering case related to Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.
Special CBI Judge V K Gupta summoned businessman Gautam Khaitan, who is in jail under judicial custody, his wife Ritu, Chandigarh-based firm Aeromatrix and two Italian men, Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, as accused in the case for January 19 after taking cognisance of the charge sheet. They were chargesheeted by ED for the offences under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Meanwhile, the court also dismissed bail plea of Khaitan, the lone accused who has been arrested in the case.
During the hearing on the bail plea, Khaitan's lawyer P K Dubey had argued that complaint filed by ED was not complete and his client should be enlarged on bail. Countering his submissions, ED's prosecutor Naveen Kumar Matta had submitted that further probe was going on and the complaint filed against Khaitan and others was complete. Khaitan was the first person to be arrested in September this year by the ED in the chopper deal case in which CBI is also running a parallel probe.
ED had earlier alleged in the court that Khaitan was “actively involved” in the illegal transactions relating to proceeds of crime and he was one of the beneficiaries of the entire deal.
ED is probing the case in which 70 million euros (Rs 360 crore) were allegedly paid as kickbacks. It had earlier submitted that Khaitan was on the board of Aeromatrix which was allegedly a front firm for the financial dealings.
ED had lodged a case in July this year against Khaitan, former IAF chief S P Tyagi and 19 others in the VVIP chopper deal case to probe the alleged kickbacks. The agency had claimed that Khaitan had resigned as one of the directors in Aeromatrix after Italian Police started its probe in the chopper deal.
Khaitan was earlier questioned by CBI in this case. ED had lodged a case in this deal under PMLA, taking cognisance of a more than a year-old CBI FIR.
ED has booked Tyagi, some of his family members, European nationals Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, six firms—Italy-based Finmeccanica, UK-based AgustaWestland, Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix, two companies based in Mauritius and Tunisia, and unnamed persons in its criminal complaint.
The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland came under the scanner after the Italian authorities had alleged that bribes were paid by the company to clinch the deal.