The Patiala House Court in New Delhi on Saturday sent AgustaWestland chopper scam accused advocate Gautam Khaitan to two-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate on Saturday in a separate money laundering case, ANI reported. The investigation agency had on Friday arrested the lawyer from Delhi.
The Enforcement Directorate alleged that Khaitan has several illegal properties, NDTV reported. “He is running less of a law firm and more of a money laundering business,” the agency told the court on Saturday. “We need to ask questions. This custody is necessary.”
The investigating agency’s counsel told the court that the present case had nothing to do with the alleged AgustaWestland scam. However, the defence counsel opposed the Enforcement Directorate’s plea saying the Income Tax Department was already probing the matter. The defence lawyer said the current case was related to the VVIP chopper scam for which Khaitan was already out on bail.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes had searched Khaitan’s offices and properties in New Delhi and the National Capital Region last week. The Income Tax Department then filed a case against the advocate under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, PTI reported.
The Enforcement Directorate filed a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against Khaitan based on the Income Tax Department’s case. Unidentified agency officials told PTI that Khaitan operates several foreign accounts illegally, and possesses black money and stashed assets.
“I went out of the country on the directions of the court hearing AgustaWestland case,” Khaitan’s lawyer read from his statement. “When I landed in India, I was detained by the IT department and later arrested by the ED. If I have made illegalities in AgustaWestland case, can I be arrested in separate case?”
“Can I be prosecuted by multiple agencies for the same offence?” Khaitan said.
He added, First IT raided my (Khaitan) premises, the moment they left, ED entered the premises and detained me. There was no apprehension that I was fleeing.... Can I be prosecuted by multiple agencies for the same offence? Khaitan’s arrest for alleged money laundering came after the Enforcement Directorate interrogated alleged middleman in AgustaWestland case, Christian Michel, PTI reported. Michel was extradited from Dubai to India last month.
Khaitan was arrested in December 2016 in connection with the AgustaWestland chopper scam. However, he was granted bail in the case.