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AgustaWestland scam co-accused Rajiv Saxena's ED custody extended by four days

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New Delhi, Feb 4: Delhi's Patiala House Court on Monday extended Dubai-based businessman and co-accused in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, Rajiv Saxena's, Enforcement Directorate custody by four more days. Saxena was deported from Dubai on January 31 and sent to 4-day ED custody the same day.

File photo of Rajiv Saxena

The court had allowed his custodial interrogation after the agency alleged that he and another accused provided global corporate structure to launder money.

AgustaWestland: The importance of Rajeev Saxena and how he will help crack the money trail

The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday (February 2) opposed the petition of Saxena seeking to meet his lawyer in private, saying it may hamper the probe. The ED had then made the submission in response to the plea moved by Saxena, who was in the agency's custody. Special judge Arvind Kumar on Saturday directed the agency to file a detailed reply by Monday, when Saxena's custody was to end.

Saxena's counsel had sought access to him without the presence of ED officials. He had said that he was not being allowed to speak to his client without ED's interference. Opposing the request, advocates D P Singh and N K Matta, appearing for ED, said allowing Saxena's counsel such access could be misused and hamper investigation in the case.

The agency had alleged that in connivance with another accused, Guatam Khaitan, a Delhi based lawyer, Saxena provided a global corporate structure for laundering illegal proceeds of the crime for payment to various political persons, bureaucrats and Air Force officials to influence the contract to supply 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland.

The CBI and the ED have registered cases in the VVIP chopper case in which former Air Force chief S P Tyagi is one of the accused. Saxena was picked up by Dubai authorities in connection with the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP choppers money laundering case and deported to India.

Co-accused in AgustaWestland case Gautam Khaitan arrested on black money charges

A director of two Dubai-based firms - UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings, Saxena was residing in Palm Jumeriah, Dubai, and had been living in the UAE for 26 years, said a PTI report. Maintaining that AgustaWestland had paid euro 58 million as kickbacks through two Tunisia-based firms, ED's advocate Samvedna Verma alleged that "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".

Saxena is one of the accused named in the chargesheet filed by ED. Christian Michel, former AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica directors Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, Tyagi and Saxena's wife Shivani were also named by the agency. It alleged that the two Dubai-based 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.

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