ED wants to confront Khaitan with Saxena

New Delhi


The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday told a Delhi court that lawyer Gautam Khaitan has to be confronted with Dubai-based businessman Rajiv Saxena over money laundering in connection with a black money case.

After hearing the agency's submission, the court extended by six days the ED custody of arrested lawyer Gautam Khaitan -- a co-accused in the case relating to the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal -- in a fresh money laundering case.

Khaitan was arrested on January 25, a week after the Income Tax Department raided his offices and various other properties in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).

The ED said that custody of Khaitan is required to confront him with Saxena, who was extradited from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on January 30, to identify the proceeds of a crime related to the companies incorporated by them jointly.

However, the Directorate clarified that bringing them face-to-face has nothing to do with the AgustaWestland deal case.

"Khaitan and Saxena had a laundering channel. We want to confront them in relation to investigations beyond Agusta," the ED told the court.

Currently, Saxena is in ED's custody in connection with the AgustaWestland deal case.

Special Public Prosecutor D.P. Singh told the court that Khaitan's further questioning would help the ED unearth all links in other various arms deals and his association with various dealers.

His nexus and links with the Banda family of Zambia is also being investigated.

The ED said that Khaitan, in stark contrast to the records, has deliberately been concealing and withholding material information in his possession and his interrogation is thus essential to unearth the key links to the deals.

The Directorate said that Khaitan is non-cooperative and evasive in his reply.

The ED also told the court that it has found two new foreign accounts and companies that were used to transact huge amounts of money for laundering.

Khaitan's counsel Pramod Kumar Dubey opposed the ED plea, saying the arrest is illegal and the present case is merely "old wine in a new bottle".

The defence counsel said that there is no fresh material against Khaitan and arrest is being done to question him in the AgustaWestland matter.

The ED said the Khaitan has been "controlling" the modus operandi and is responsible for routing the money, misusing his connections and clients, including the ones inherited from his father, to launder the money through a variety of accounts in Dubai, Mauritius, Singapore, Tunisia, Switzerland, the UK and India.

Agency officials said the accounts included those of his undisclosed shell companies outside India.

Khaitan was arrested in September 2014 for his alleged involvement in the AgustaWestland deal.

He got bail in January 2015 and was again arrested along with Sanjeev Tyagi, another accused in the case, on December 9, 2016, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He later secured bail.

The CBI chargesheet has described Khaitan as the brain behind the AgustaWestland deal.