Chopperdeal: Court seeks ED's response on Khaitan's bail plea

Chopperdeal: Court seeks ED's response on Khaitan's bail plea

A Delhi court today issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking its response on October 7 on the bail plea of businessman Gautam Khaitan who has been arrested in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal case.

Khaitan, who is presently in ED's custody till October 5, moved an application seeking bail in the case before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal who issued a notice to the agency for October 7.

In the bail plea, Khaitan said he should be enlarged on bail as he has always cooperated during the investigation and there was no apprehension that he would flee from justice.
Advocate P K Dubey, appearing for Khaitan, who as per ED's allegation was on board of Chandigarh-based company Aeromatrix which was allegedly a front firm for the financial dealings in the chopper deal, told the court that his client was nowhere connected with the day-to-day affairs of the firm and he had resigned from the post way back in October 2010.

ED had yesterday alleged in the court that Rs 360 crore was paid as kickbacks in the entire deal.

The court had yesterday remanded Khaitan to ED's custody for five more days observing he was required to be confronted with approximately 188 documents retrieved from hard disk of a computer during his initial custody remand and proceeds of the crime were required to be identified.

Khaitan was arrested under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by ED which had lodged a case in July this year against Khaitan, former IAF chief S P Tyagi and 19 others in the VVIP chopper deal case to probe alleged kickbacks.

ED had earlier said Khaitan was one of the directors in Aeromatrix and he had resigned from the post after the Italian police started its probe into the chopper deal.

As per ED, a reference to Khaitan was also reportedly made in the Italian prosecutor's report filed in a court in Italy.

He was earlier questioned by CBI in this case. ED had registered a case in this deal under PMLA, taking cognisance of a more-than-a-year-old CBI FIR.

ED has booked Tyagi, his family members, European nationals Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, four firms--Italy-based Finmeccanica, UK-based AgustaWestland and Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix, two companies based in Mauritius and Tunisia, few other firms and unknown persons in its criminal complaint.

The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland came under the scanner after the Italian authorities alleged that bribe was paid by the company to clinch the deal.
The Italian prosecutor who carried out the preliminary inquiry alleged that CEO of Finmeccanica, the parent company of UK-based AgustaWestland, had used the services of middlemen to bribe Indian officials.

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