Delhi Court sends Agusta co-accused Saxena to ED custody

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday sent AgustaWestland co-accused Rajiv Saxena, who was extradited from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Delhi a day earlier, to a four-day Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody.

Hours after his extradition, the Dubai-based businessman was produced before Special Judge Arvind Kumar at the Patiala House Court, which sent him to ED custody for his pivotal role in laundering money received to pay kickbacks in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal case.

The ED assured the court of providing proper medical facility to Saxena.

The agency had sought an eight-day custodial interrogation of Saxena but the court granted only four days.

Saxena was produced before the court after being questioned by an ED team.

The UAE security authorities picked up Saxena from his residence in Dubai on Wednesday morning and extradited him to India in the night along with corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar.

They reached the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in a special aircraft early Thursday.

According to sources, a two-member ED team headed by an Inspector General-rank officer and officials of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) accompanied both accused in the aircraft.

In Saxena’s case, the ED in its supplementary chargesheet 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 has 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 Saxena.

A Delhi court had earlier issued a non-bailable warrant against Saxena after it came to light that he had not joined the investigation despite repeated summons.

Saxena’s name was mentioned in a chargesheet filed against his wife, Shivani, who has been out on bail after being arrested by the Directorate.

Saxena was named only in the third supplementary complaint filed in July 2018. The same is also under challenge before the Delhi High Court by another accused in the case, Khaitan.

The ED had earlier arrested Saxena, the Director of Matrix Holdings Dubai, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection with the case.