VVIP chopper scam: Delhi court sends Rajeev Saxena to jail till Feb 18, orders his medical check-up

Published: Feb 12, 2019, 19:21 IST | PTI |

The probe agency said that last night Saxena's health worsened following which he was taken to LNJP hospital at 1 am

Representational image
Representational image

A Delhi court on Tuesday sent Rajeev Saxena, arrested in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland money laundering case, to judicial custody till February 18 and directed the Tihar jail authorities to take him to AIIMS for medical checkup.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar ordered the Director AIIMS to file a report regarding the medical condition of Saxena by 2 pm tomorrow. "Considering the submissions by both the parties and record regarding medical condition of the accused, the jail authority is directed to take the accused to AIIMS immediately for his necessary checkup and admission/ treatment," the court said.

"The Director, AIIMS shall file a report regarding the medical condition of the accused on February 13 by 2 pm. The accused is permitted to take with him all his medical records copy of which shall be sent by jail authorities to AIIMS for perusal. The jail authorities shall permit the accused to take with him Sleep apnea (sleep disorder) machine and necessary medicines," it added. 

The order came after the court was informed that Saxena's health had worsened last night following which he was taken to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital at 1 am after he complained of chest pain. Saxena was sent to Tihar jail after the agency informed the court that it does not require his custody and the accused may be sent to 14 days judicial custody.

"We are not seeking further remand," said the ED, through lawyer D P Singh. Saxena, a Dubai-based businessman, was deported from Dubai on January 31 and sent to four-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) the same day.

The probe agency said that last night Saxena's health worsened following which he was taken to LNJP hospital at 1 am where his blood test reports stated that his white blood cell count has shot up to 14,500.

"Saxena was having severe chest pain and was medically examined and it was detected that there was a steep rise in his WBC count. ED is not opposing the bail application of Saxena considering his medical condition," ED said. Senior advocate Geeta Luthra, appearing for Saxena, told the court that he has cooperated with the investigating agency during an investigation.

"He is ready to join the investigation as and when directed," Luthra said while seeking immediate medical check-up of his client. She had further submitted that Saxena was suffering from advanced stage leukaemia, radiating back pain, numbness and heaviness in the leg, neck pain and muscle spasms.

During the hearing in the morning, Saxena had sought to talk to the judge in private for 15-20 minutes, without the presence of lawyers from both the parties, which the court had allowed.

He told the court that he was not feeling well and has cooperated with the investigating agency and disclosed true facts. The court listed the matter for hearing on February 13 when his bail plea would be considered.  Last Friday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had sought his custody from the court, saying the probe is at a crucial stage.

Saxena is one of the accused named in the charge sheet filed by ED in the case. Christian Michel, former AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica directors Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, former Air Force chief SP Tyagi and Saxena's wife Shivani have also been named by the agency in the charge sheet. 

The court had earlier allowed ED's plea seeking an extension of his custody on the ground that he was required for confronting with Gautam Khaitan, a Delhi-based lawyer and a co-accused, who was earlier arrested in the case and is in the agency's custody in another case. ED had said that both Saxena and Khaitan provided a global corporate structure to launder money.

The ED alleged that in connivance with Khaitan, 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.

Saxena, a director of two Dubai-based firms - UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings - was picked up by Dubai authorities last Wednesday in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP choppers money laundering case and deported to India in the evening.

He was residing in Palm Jumeriah, Dubai and has been living in the UAE for last 26 years. 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 charge sheet filed by the ED. Michel, former AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica directors Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, Tyagi and Saxena's wife Shivani were also named by the agency.

It was alleged by the probe agency 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.

On January 1, 2014, India had scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over an alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks of Rs 423 crore paid by it to secure the deal.

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