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VVIP chopper deal: ED summons two retired IAF officers

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to two former Indian Air Force (IAF) officers in connection with its money laundering probe into the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.



New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to two former Indian Air Force (IAF) officers in connection with its money laundering probe into the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

Officials said that two retired officials -- an Air Marshal and a Group Captain -- have been allegedly found to have been associated with European national Christian Michel -- the alleged middleman in this case -- vis-a-vis some monetary transactions.

ED sources said that the agency has tracked purported payments, running into lakhs, made by Michel to these officials as "personal unexplained payments", which includes reimbursements made in connection with foreign travels.

"They (ex-IAF officials) have been asked to join investigations and explain their connection with Michel that the agency has detected," sources said.

They said that the two officers were operating a private aviation and air defence consultancy firm and hence were in touch with Michel and other suspected middlemen and businessmen working in the international aviation domain.

ED, which has registered a criminal case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to probe alleged financial violations in the deal for the 12 VVIP choppers, is also set to attach the assets of Michel which it detected under a "benami" category in Delhi.

Michel's assets, including a posh flat in the Safdarjung Enclave area, was purchased by a Delhi-based travel businessman, but the purchase was allegedly funded by the European businessman.

The agency arrested businessman-lawyer Gautam Khaitan in this case last year and he is currently out on bail after ED filed its first charge sheet in the case. 

From Zee News

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