New Delhi: The Patiala House Court on Monday further extended by four days custody of Rajiv Saxena, a co-accused in Agusta-Westland VVIP chopper. It is to be noted here that Saxena was extradited to India from UAE on January 30. Apart from him, Deepak Talwar, a corporate lobbyist was also brought to India.
On January 31, the court had granted four-day custody of Saxena. While producing Saxena in the court, ED had alleged that in connivance with another accused, Gautam Khaitan, a Delhi-based lawyer, Saxena provided a global corporate structure for laundering illegal proceeds of the crime for payment to various political persons, bureaucrats, and Air Force officials to influence the contract to supply 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland.
Last year, Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the VVIP chopper deal, was also 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.
It is seen as a major success for the Prime Minister and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who had been pushing for the extradition.
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.
According to the Enforcement Directorate charge sheet filed in a court here two years back, Michel had received kickbacks to the tune of 30 million Euros from AgustaWestland for the deal involving a purchase of 12 VIP helicopters.
The deal, signed in 2007, was scrapped in 2013 following the bribery allegations.