New Delhi, Jun 20: Initiating fresh action in the VVIP choppers deal money laundering probe case, the ED today conducted searches in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad on at least 10 premises of some involved firms and froze shares worth over Rs 86 crore kept by them in foreign shores. Officials said the agency seized a number of documents during the searches from the premises of the firms and entities brought under the action as they were “connected” to the case.Also Read - Mumbai: 7 Cars Crash Into Each Other, Cause Huge Traffic Jam on Sion-Panvel Highway
During the searches, conducted under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the agency issued orders to freeze shares of certain firms worth Rs 86.07 crore that are located in Dubai, Mauritius and Singapore. The agency had recently filed a fresh charge sheet in the case naming British national and alleged middlemen in the deal Christian Michel James as part of its probe. (ALSO READ: VVIP chopper deal: Christian Michel James was eager about Sea King payments ) Also Read - International Flights: Air India Announces Flight Services to Doha Till Oct 2021 | Check Full Schedule, Ticket Fare
The ED had registered a PMLA case in this regard in 2014 and named 21 people, including Tyagi, in its FIR. It had also arrested Delhi-based businessman Gautam Khaitan in the case, who is out on bail now. It had earlier submitted that Khaitan was on the board of Aeromatrix, a Chandigarh-based company that was allegedly a front firm for the financial dealings in the chopper deal. Also Read - Delhi Police Arrests Mumbai Firm's Managing Director in Rs 100 Crore Cheating Case
On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal. The ED and the CBI had issued Letters Rogatory (judicial requests) to multiple countries to gather more leads and evidences in this case.