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  • ED makes first arrest in laundering probe in VVIP chopper deal

    Published on September 23, 2014

    Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday initiated its first action in the money laundering probe in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland augusta77VVIP chopper deal with the arrest of Gautam Khaitan, alleged to be an “important” link in connection with kickbacks of this scam.

    The agency, which is trying to trace the trail of the alleged bribe money, arrested Khaitan, a businessman and advocate, at 5 am after hours of sustained questioning at his premises which were searched by the ED on Monday.

    Later in the day, a special court sent him to seven days custody. “Khaitan is an important link vis-a-vis the kickbacks in this deal.

    The records of Italian prosecutors also speak about these links. The agency is probing this,” sources in the ED said.

    Sources said the agency is looking at an amount of Rs 400 crore of suspected kickbacks of this scam which was allegedly laundered by the accused in this case which includes former IAF chief S P Tyagi.

    The agency, sources said, suspects the route of stash funds to have originated from Italy and routed through Mauritius and Tunisia to India which was later laundered into the creation of unknown assets.

    ED sleuths, after the searches at two of Khaitan’s premises in New Delhi, have seized jewellery worth Rs one crore and impounded some “important” financial documents as they are also probing his role in connection with an arrested arms dealer in India and a prominent hawala ring leader currently being investigated by tax sleuths.

    This is the first big action by the ED in this case after it registered a criminal case in the deal in July this year against Khaitan, Tyagi and 19 others in the deal for the VVIP choppers meant for dignitaries like the Prime Minister and the President.

    Khaitan was on the board of Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix and he had resigned from the post after the Italian police started its probe into the chopper deal in 2012.

    The firm is allegedly a front company for the financial dealings of the chopper deal.

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