New Delhi: A court on Wednesday asked Enforcement Directorate (ED) to file its reply on a bail plea filed by businessman Gautam Khaitan, who was arrested for graft in connection with the AgustaWestland chopper deal case.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal asked ED to file its reply on the bail plea of Khaitan by Oct 7.   Khaitan is in police custody till Oct 5.

Khaitan’s counsel P.K. Dubey requested the court to release his client on bail and said he has always cooperated during the investigation and there was no apprehension that he would flee from justice. Khaitan, who was on the board of Chandigarh-based company Aeromatrix, was arrested after the ED conducted a search of his premises Sep 22.

The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland came under scrutiny after Italian authorities alleged that a bribe had been paid by the company to clinch the deal.

India on January 1 terminated the Rs.3,600 crore (about $770 million) deal with AgustaWestland for the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers over allegations of kickbacks having been paid to fix the deal.  The deal was inked in February 2010 for supply of the 12 helicopters to the Indian Air Force. India had paid around 45 percent of the total contract value for the choppers which were meant to ferry the president, the prime minister and other VVIPs.

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