New Delhi: Rajiv Saxena, the co-accused in the Rs 3600 crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal, has been extradited to India from United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday, news agency ANI reported. Media reports claimed that besides Saxena, Deepak Talwar, an accused of money laundering, has also been extradited. Both are expected to reach India tonight.
The extradition operation was headed by NSA Ajit Doval and is a major achievement for Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government, sources were quoted as saying by media reports.
The development came a few months after Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the VVIP chopper deal, was extradited to India from Dubai. The extradition took place days after a Dubai court rejected his plea against the move. Currently, he is under judicial custody till February 26.
The lawyers of Saxena, as quoted by ANI, termed the extradition ‘illegal’. “Rajiv Saxena was picked up by UAE state security from his residence this morning at 9:30 am (UAE time) and illegally extradited to India around 5:30 pm (UAE time),” they said.
Adding further, Geeta Luthra and Prateek Yadav claimed that the extradition proceedings didn’t start in the UAE while adding that Saxena was not allowed access to his family or lawyers or essential daily medicine. He was made to board a private jet from a private terminal at Dubai International Airport, the lawyers asserted.
Luthra and Yadav also claimed that on seeking permission to speak to UAE state security, they were told that Saxena is on a flight and it can’t be stopped.
The Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VIP helicopter deal, finalised during the previous government of Manmohan Singh, had got mired in allegations of kickbacks. The deal, signed in 2007, was scrapped in 2013 following the bribery allegations.