New Delhi: The enforcement directorate is planning to make Rajeev Saxena, co-accused in AugustaWestland VVIP Chopper case, an approver, news agency ANI reported on Wednesday. The ED and Saxena counsel have also given their consent and will be approaching the court for the approval.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Court had extended the judicial custody of Rajiv Saxena till February 18 despite ED clarifying earlier in the day that they do not need him in remand anymore.
Rajiv Saxena had moved a bail plea in the morning, citing health issues. The court demanded Saxena’s latest medical report from AIIMS Delhi, latest by Wednesday.
Rajiv Saxena is facing money laundering charges for allegedly paying off various politicians and bureaucrats to influence the 2007 contract to supply 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland. The charge sheet filed by the ED read that Saxena played a crucial role in providing the corporate structure to felicitate kickbacks from the India Air Force’s (IAF) deal with AgustaWestland.
The ED in its supplementary charge sheet elaborated on how the bribe money paid to clinch the AgustaWestland chopper deal was “layered” and projected as “untainted money” by creating “fictitious invoices”.
It also mentioned how fictitious engineering contracts were created to hide the kickbacks allegedly paid by AgustaWestland to companies directly controlled by lawyer Gautam Khaitan — now in ED custody — and Rajiv Saxena.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) security authorities picked up Saxena from his residence in Dubai on January 30 and extradited him to India later that night, along with corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar.
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 54-year-old Michel is an accused in the case along with some others including former Air Chief SP Tyagi.