A lawyer accused in the AgustaWestland scam told a court in Delhi on Monday that the Enforcement Directorate was forcing him to falsely implicate someone influential in “any defence deal” struck during the rule of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, PTI reported.
Gautam Khaitan, arrested in a separate money-laundering case, made the statement in the court of Special Judge Arvind Kumar, who extended his custodial remand by five days. Kumar granted the plea of the Enforcement Directorate, which alleged that Khaitan knows everyone related to arms deals other than in the AgustaWestland case.
Khaitan’s lawyer PK Dubey told the court that there was no fresh ground for the current case. “They asked me [Khaitan] to give any name involved in any defence deal [of UPA period],” Dubey said on Khaitan’s behalf. “They asked to give any name, that they needed it within these two months. They are constantly forcing me to give name and I will be absolved.”
Khaitan told the court that the Enforcement Directorate had claimed that businessman Christian Michel, one of the suspected middlemen in the AgustaWestland case, had taken his name. “But nothing came out of that case. Now you have come up with this case,” he alleged.
The Enforcement Directorate has alleged that Khaitan owns several illegal properties and runs “less of a law firm and more of a money laundering business”. He was arrested on Friday, a week after the Central Board of Direct Taxes searched his offices and properties in New Delhi and the National Capital Region.
Khaitan was arrested in December 2016 in connection with the AgustaWestland chopper scam. However, he was granted bail in the case.