Chopper deal: Court reserves order of Gautam Khaitan’s bail

New Delhi: A Delhi court today reserved for December 20 its order on the bail plea of businessman Gautam Khaitan, arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case related to Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal.

During the proceedings, Special CBI Judge V K Gupta heard arguments from Khaitan’s lawyer P K Dubey who said that the complaint filed by ED was not complete and his client should be enlarged on bail.

Dubey also argued that no public servants have been named as accused in the complaint and there was no allegation that bribe was given to anyone in the matter.

Countering his submissions, ED’s prosecutor Naveen Kumar Matta submitted that further probe in the matter was going on and the complaint filed against Khaitan and others was complete.

He said that the Delhi High Court, which had recently dismissed Khaitan’s bail plea, has directed the agency to complete investigation in the matter as soon as possible.

The court, after hearing the submissions, reserved the order on the plea for December 20. ED had earlier filed a charge sheet against Gautam Khaitan and others, including two Italian nationals, in connection with its case.

According to ED’s prosecutor, the agency has named Khaitan, his wife Ritu, Chandigarh-based firm Aeromatrix and two Italian men, Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, as accused and they have been chargesheeted for the offences under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Khaitan was the first person to be arrested in September this year by ED in the chopper deal case in which CBI is also running a parallel probe.

ED had earlier alleged in the court that Khaitan was “actively involved” in the illegal transactions relating to proceeds of crime and he was one of the beneficiaries of the entire deal.

ED is probing the case in which 70 million euros (Rs 360 crore) were allegedly paid as kickbacks.

It had earlier submitted that Khaitan was on the board of Aeromatrix which was allegedly a front firm for the financial dealings.

ED 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 the alleged kickbacks.

The agency had claimed that Khaitan had resigned as one of the directors in Aeromatrix after Italian Police started its probe in the chopper deal.

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

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

The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland came under the scanner after the Italian authorities had alleged that bribes were paid by the company to clinch the deal.

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