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ED moves Supreme Court against HC order on AgustaWestland middleman

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New Delhi, Sep 04: The Enforcement Directorate told the Delhi High Court on Friday that it will challenge in the Supreme Court its order dismissing the ED plea to revoke approver status of Rajiv Saxena in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.

Rajiv Saxena

The ED submitted before Justice C Hari Shankar that the probe agency is in the process of filing an appeal in the Supreme Court during the day, challenging the high court's June 8 order.

The high court allowed the ED's plea to adjourn the matter, relating to the agency's plea seeking cancellation of Saxena's bail, and listed it for hearing on October 15.

Advocate Zoheb Hussain, representing the ED, said "We are in the process of filing SLP (Special Leave Petition) today against the order of the high court. As we speak here, the SLP is being filed in the Supreme Court. It is likely to be listed in the coming days. We request the (high) court to defer the hearing by two weeks."

The probe agency is challenging the high court''s June 8 order by which it had dismissed ED''s plea to revoke approver status of Saxena.

The high court had upheld the trial court's decision not to revoke Saxena's pardon as sought by the ED.

It had said that the ED's plea before the trial court for revoking the approver status was not maintainable as his statement under section 306 (4) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) had not been recorded.

It had further said that once his statement under section 306 (4) of CrPC is recorded, the ED can again move an application for revoking Saxena''s approver status.

Section 306 (4) of CrPC provides for recording of the statement of an accomplice who has been granted pardon.

The high court had also said that the public prosecutor issuing a certificate, under section 308 CrPC, stating that the approver has given false evidence or wilfully concealed material has to be preceded by recording of the statement.

Section 308 of CrPC lays down procedure for trial of an approver who has not complied with conditions of a pardon.

The high court had said the certificate of the public prosecutor in the present case was based entirely on alleged non-cooperation by Saxena during investigation and it does not conform to the provisions of sections 306 and 308 of CrPC.

ED had sought revocation of Saxena's approver status on the ground that he had undertaken to disclose all the facts related to the offence but he was not doing so.

The probe agency had challenged the trial court's order which had refused to revoke Saxena's approver status.

The Dubai-based businessman, Saxena was extradited to India on January 31 last year in connection with the Rs 3,600-crore scam case relating to the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland.

ED, in its plea before the trial court, had said that while seeking pardon, Saxena had said he will make full disclosure of the facts within his knowledge and his statement was recorded in March last year after which he was granted pardon.

He was allowed to be an approver by the trial court subject to his making full and true disclosure of the whole of circumstances within his knowledge relating to the offence.

The ED had contended that Saxena has very strategically withheld and not disclosed full and true facts which were within his knowledge, relating to the commission of the offence, and has deliberately hidden and fabricated certain documents to shield the other co-accused, which was contrary to the terms of the grant of pardon granted by the trial court.

The trial court, in its order refusing to revoke his approver status, said that failure of the accused to comply with the conditions on which the pardon was tendered, makes him liable to be tried.

However, Saxena was yet to enter the witness box to depose before the court and as on date, his status was of a witness and he has ceased to be an accused, the trial court had said.

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