Justice Siddharth Mridul of Delhi HC recuses himself from hearing AgustaWestland case

New Delhi: Justice Sidharth Mridul of the Delhi High Court on Monday recused himself from hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar in connection with AgustaWestland case.

The matter is slated for hearing on March 14.

Delhi’s Patiala House Court on February 14 sent Talwar to 14-day long judicial custody in connection with allegedly violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

He was extradited to India from Dubai on January 30, along with the businessman Rajeev Saxena.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 19 approached the Delhi High Court seeking custodial interrogation of Talwar.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also alleged that Talwar was involved in cases related to corporate lobbying. He was extradited to India in cases involving alleged routing and misuse of Rs 90 crore.

He is the main accused who allegedly facilitated dispersal of profit making routes of Air India to private airlines using his contacts.

It is worth mentioning that in February 2010, the then UPA government under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had inked a contract to buy 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters for the Indian Air Force (IAF) for Rs 3,600-crore to carry the country’s VVIPs like PM and President.

However, the entire process to procure VVIP choppers got mired in controversy in February 2013 when the government put the decision on hold following the news that AgustaWestland had allegedly bribed middlemen to secure the deal with the IAF.