New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday opposed the anticipatory bail plea of Rajeev Saxena, a Dubai-based businessman and an accused in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, news agency ANI reported.
ED informed the Delhi’s Patiala House Court that it has sent extradition request for him as he isn’t responding to the summons issued against him. Court has already issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against him.
Earlier on December 17, the court had issued a notice to Enforcement Directorate (ED). Earlier in the month, Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the case was brought to India after which he was arrested by the CBI. Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the CBI. Both the agencies have notified an Interpol red corner notice (RCN) against him after the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him. However, Michel had denied the charges.
Michel was allegedly paid 42 million Euro (approx. Rs 295 crore) bribe by AgustaWestland to pay off Indian politicians, bureaucrats, and defence ministry officials to swing the Rs 3,700-crore deal for 12 VVIP choppers in favour of AgustaWestland.
Michel was wanted for investigation but he escaped and had avoided joining the probe. A charge sheet was filed against him in September last year. On the basis of this warrant, a Red Corner Notice was issued by the Interpol which led to his arrest in Dubai in February 2017.
The ruling BJP government grabbed the opportunity to term the extradition in the case from the UPA era as a diplomatic victory for India, which could spell “serious trouble” for the Congress’s “first family”, referring to Gandhi’s.
The CBI has alleged there was an estimated loss of Euro 398.21 million (approximately Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010, for the supply of VVIP choppers worth Euro 556.262 million.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, had alleged that he received EUR 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.
Former IAF Chief SP Tyagi (73) was also charge-sheeted by the CBI in a Delhi Court along with nine others in connection with a bribery case in the VVIP chopper deal. He is the first chief of the Indian Air Force to be charge-sheeted in corruption or a criminal case by the CBI.