VVIP chopper deal: Delhi HC issues notice to ED, Centre on Gautam Khaitan's bail plea

The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notices to Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Centre in response the bail application moved businessman Gautam Khaitan, who has ben arrested in Rs 3,600-cr VVIP chopper deal related money laundering case.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notices to Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Centre in response the bail application moved businessman Gautam Khaitan, who has ben arrested in Rs 3,600-cr VVIP chopper deal related money laundering case.

Khaitan, who was on the board of Chandigarh-based company Aeromatrix, was arrested a day after the agency conducted a search of his premises on September 22.

The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from British firm AgustaWestland came under scrutiny after Italian authorities alleged that a bribe had been paid by the company to clinch the deal with India inked in February 2010.

India on January 1 terminated the Rs.3,600 crore (about $770 million) deal with AgustaWestland for the purchase of the choppers following allegations of kickbacks having been paid to fix the deal.

India had paid around 45 percent of the total contract value for the choppers which were meant to ferry the president, the prime minister and other VIPs.

The ED had registered a case in this deal in July 2013 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and booked former Indian Air Force chief S.P. Tyagi, foreign nationals Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, companies like AgustaWestland, its parent company Italy-based Finmeccanica, Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix as well as two companies based in Mauritius and Tunisia, a few other firms and unknown persons in its criminal complaint.

Twenty-one entities have been named by the ED in the case.

A separate case was lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation March 2013 against Tyagi and others in connection with the kickback allegations.

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