Chopperdeal:70 million Euros received as kickback, ED to court

Chopperdeal:70 million Euros received as kickback, ED to court

Businessman Gautam Khaitan, arrested in connection with the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal case, was today remanded in five-day Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody after the probe agency alleged that Rs 360 crore was paid as kickbacks in the entire deal.

Khaitan, who was on the board of Chandigarh-based company Aeromatrix which was allegedly a front firm for the financial dealings in the chopper deal, was produced before the court after expiry of his seven days custodial interrogation and ED sought extension of his remand by a week.

Seeking extension of his custody, ED prosecutor Naveen Kumar Matta told Metropolitan Magistrate Sunil Kumar Sharma that during the probe conducted by the agency, they have found that in the 552.25 million Euros deal, 70 million Euros was paid as kickbacks between 2010 and 2012.

"During the investigation, we have found that in this 552.25 million Euros deal, 70 million Euros was paid as kickbacks. The probe in Italy in the matter is going on and we are here to trace the proceeds of crime," Matta said.

Senior advocate P V Kapur, appearing for Khaitan, opposed the contentions of ED saying there was no apprehension that his client will flee from justice and he had always cooperated in a separate probe being conducted by the CBI in the matter.

He argued that no proper justification has been given by ED to seek Khaitan's custody for another seven days.

"He (Khaitan) is a soft target. More serious allegations have been levelled against other co-accused. Khaitan, being a lawyer, is the softest target whereas others have not been arrested yet," Kapur argued.

The court, after hearing the submissions of both the parties, extended the ED's custody of Khaitan by five more days.

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