New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) today opposed in a Delhi court the bail plea of businessman Gautam Khaitan, arrested in connection with the money laundering case related to Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal, claiming that he was behind the “parking” of alleged kickbacks in the matter.
ED's prosecutor N K Matta told Special CBI Judge V K Gupta that the agency was conducting further investigation in the case and Khaitan was not cooperating in the ongoing probe.
“A total of 70 million Euros (Rs 360 crore) was paid as kickbacks. Khaitan was the person who was behind the parking of kickbacks at various places. We are trying to conclude the probe at the earliest. They (Khaitan) are not cooperating in the probe,” Matta said.
Countering his submissions, senior advocate P V Kapur, appearing for Khaitan, argued that ED has not said anything in its reply to the bail application to substantiate that his client was not cooperating in the probe.
“To say that he is not cooperating in the probe is unfair,” he argued.
Kapur contended that other accused, who were allegedly the recipients of the purported bribe, have not been arrested so far while Khaitan was behind bars for over three months.
“Why the others who are also being investigated are not in jail. They are the recipients of the alleged bribe and they are out,” he said, adding, “If they (ED) are probing other people then why I am required to be incarcerated.”
He also said that the agency should show that under which provision of law they were conducting further probe in the case.
The court, after hearing the arguments on the bail plea, reserved its order for January 9.
Khaitan was earlier refused bail by the court which had taken cognisance of ED's charge sheet filed in the case against five accused, including two Italian nationals, Gerosa Carlo Valentino Ferdinand and Haschke Guido Ralph.
Besides them, ED has also named Gautam Khaitan's wife Ritu Khaitan and Chandigarh-based firm Aeromatrix Info Solutions Pvt Ltd as accused in the case. These five accused have been summoned for January 19 by the court.
They were chargesheeted by ED for offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Khaitan was arrested in September last year by ED in the chopper deal case in which CBI is also running a separate 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.
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.
ED has booked Tyagi, some of his family members, European nationals Gerosa Carlo Valentino Ferdinand, Haschke Guido Ralph and Christian Michel, 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.