VVIP chopper scam: ED arrests Gautam Khaitan

Khaitan has been alleged to have been operating and holding a number of foreign accounts illegally and thereby possessing black money and stash assets. File photo

In fresh trouble for AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case accused Gautam Khaitan, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested the lawyer in connection with a fresh case of possession of black money and money laundering.

He was arrested on Friday late night under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials said on Saturday.

A fresh case was filed by the ED against Khaitan on the basis of a complaint filed by the Income Tax Department against him under Section 51 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.

According to this, Khaitan was allegedly operating and holding a number of foreign accounts illegally and thereby possessing black money and stash assets.

Khaitan, who had denied any wrongdoings, was produced before a local court, which sent him to the custody of ED for two days. During the hearing, the ED argued that Khaitan was running "more of a money laundering business" than a law firm. "We need to ask questions and his custody is necessary," it said.

The latest arrest comes close on the heels of investigators claiming that they have got fresh leads against him after the questioning of Christian Michel, an alleged middleman in the VVIP chopper deal with AgustaWestland who was arrested recently in the chopper scam case.

Khaitan had been arrested by the ED and the CBI a few years ago in connection with their probe in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland case. A charge sheet was also filed against him by the two agencies. He was currently out on bail.

According to the ED chargesheet, money has been laundered in AgustaWestland case through multiple foreign companies which were used as fronts to park alleged kickbacks.

It had said that one channel was handled by Michel while the other was handled by suspected middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke. Gerosa and Haschke in collusion with Tyagi Brothers, cousins of S P Tyagi, conspired with Gautam Khaitan of M/s OP Khaitan and Co, Auditors and Solicitors based at New Delhi, the chargesheet claimed.

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VVIP chopper scam: ED arrests Gautam Khaitan

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