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VVIP chopper scam: Delhi Court allows director of Dubai firms accused in money laundering case to travel

New Delhi: A Delhi Court on Thursday allowed a woman director of two Dubai-based firms, accused in a money laundering case connected with the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal, to travel to Dubai from 14 to 29 January.

Special judge Arvind Kumar granted the relief to Shivani Saxena, an active director of Dubai-based M/s UHY Saxena and M/s Matrix Holdings, on the conditions that she will furnish Rs 50,000 security in the form of bank guarantee and disclose her detailed programme, including her contact numbers.

While allowing her plea, the court said the charge sheet has already been filed in the matter and the ED has failed to point out any incident when the accused has tampered with the evidence.

Representational Image. AFP.

Representational image. AFP.

The judge, however, directed her not to contact or influence prosecution witnesses or tamper with evidence during the period, while making it clear that the duration of her stay abroad would not be extended.

"It is worthwhile to mention here that charge sheet has already been filed and the entire case of the ED is based on documentary evidence. The ED has failed to point out any incident when the accused had tampered with the evidence," the judge said.

The court also noted that Saxena's brother was serving in the army and residing in India and took consideration of granting permission to co-accused Gautam Khaitan to travel abroad.

"Suitable conditions can be imposed on the applicant so that she does not evade trial. It also needs to be recorded that co-accused Gautam Khaitan has also been permitted to travel abroad in 2015 by the High Court..." the judge said.

The court also suspended the look-out circular (LOC) issued against Shivani after the probe agency informed it about the same.

"The LOC shall remain withdrawn/suspended during 14-29 January. ED shall inform the concerned authority regarding the suspension of the LOC," the court said.

In her application, Shivani submitted that she needed to go to Dubai from 14 to 29 January for business purposes.

She was arrested by the ED on 17 July last year from Chennai in Tamil Nadu and granted bail by Delhi high court on 15 December, 2017 with several conditions, including that she will not leave the country without the court's nod.

Shivani and her husband Rajiv are residents of Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, an archipelago which is home to most expensive properties in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), ED's special public prosecutor N K Matta had told the court.

The court while allowing her plea today also directed her to intimate it within 48 hours before leaving and within 48 hours of return from abroad and produce her sureties in the court to state that they have no objection to her going abroad.

The agency had earlier alleged that the two Dubai firms were the entities "through which the proceeds of crime have been routed and further layered and integrated in buying the immovable properties/shares, among others" in this case.

It had claimed that AgustaWestland, United Kingdom, had "paid an amount of Euro 58 million as kickbacks" through two Tunisia-based firms.

"These companies further siphoned off the said money in the name of consultancy contracts to M/s Interstellar Technologies Limited, Mauritius and others which were further transferred to M/s UHY Saxena and M/s Matrix Holdings Ltd, Dubai and others," the ED had alleged.

The agency had also arrested Delhi-based businessman Gautam Khaitan who is currently out on bail. It had registered a PMLA case in 2014 and named 21 people in its money laundering FIR.

On 1 January, 2014, India had scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks of Rs 423 crore paid by it to secure the deal.


Updated Date: Jan 11, 2018 17:54 PM

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