Indian investgiating agencies are set to bring Dubai-based businessman Rajeev Saxena, who is an accused in the AgustaWestland scam case, to India, The Economic Times reported on Wednesday. According to ANI, corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar is also being brought along with Saxena and the Enforcement Directorate is likely to take their custody.
Saxena’s extradition comes a month after British businessman Christian Michel, one of the three alleged middlemen in the AgustaWestland deal, was extradited to India from Dubai, where he runs a weapons business.
Saxena’s lawyers alleged that the extradition was illegal and claimed that he was not being given access to his family, lawyers or even essential medicine. “There were no extradition proceedings started in the UAE and he was not allowed access to his family or lawyers or essential daily medicine,” the lawyers told the newspaper. “He was on boarded onto a private jet from a private terminal at Dubai International Airport.”
Saxena is accused of playing a key role in laundering the money received to pay kickbacks in the scam. According to a supplementary chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate in July, the bribe money was “layered” and projected as “untainted money” with the help of “fictitious invoices.” The kickbacks were reportedly paid to companies controlled by lawyer Gautam Khaitan using fictitious engineering contracts.
Gautam Khaitan, who is currently in Enforcement Directorate custody in connection with a separate money laundering case, has accused the investigating agency of forcing him to falsely implicate someone influential in “any defence deal” struck during the rule of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.
Two weeks back, Michel’s family decided to approach the United Nations after several reports claimed that the businessman was extradited in exchange for runaway Dubai princess Sheikha Latifa, who was intercepted near the Indian coastline last year. Earlier this month, a court sent Michel to judicial custody till February 26.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had signed the Rs 3,565-crore helicopter deal with British-Italian firm AgustaWestland in 2010. The deal was put on hold after Italy arrested the head of Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland’s parent company, on charges of paying bribes to win the contract.