The Enforcement Directorate today questioned the Managing Director of realty firm Emaar MGF in connection with its probe in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP choppers deal.
Officials said the top honcho of the firm, Shravan Gupta, appeared before the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case where he was questioned extensively about an alleged middleman in the case, Guido Haschke, being an independent director of his firm between September to December 2009.
They said Gupta’s statement was recorded under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and he was also asked about the “business links” with Rahul Gandhi’s aide Kanishka Singh and selling of two shops to the Congress Vice President in a shopping mall in south Delhi in 2005.
The questioning lasted over five hours.
When contacted, company officials said Gupta, the “Executive Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Emaar MG is a law abiding responsible corporate. He has done no wrong and not violated any law of the land.
“Emaar MGF as also Mr Gupta will cooperate fully in every possible manner in the ongoing investigation and will meet the authorities as and when required. We have done no wrong and are fully compliant with all the laws and regulations in the utmost responsible manner.”
Widening its probe in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal, the ED has begun a trail of “cash” which is suspected to have been paid as alleged kickbacks for the purchase of 12 helicopters from UK-based AgustaWestland.
The agency has now begun the second round of questioning of witnesses and accused in connection with the scam and it will quiz former IAF Chief S P Tyagi tomorrow.
Gupta, sources said, may again be called to join the probe.
“The allegations levelled are false, baseless and without any substance. The company will do everything within ambit of law to protect its and executive’s reputation, image, commercial and business interests,” the company added.
Emaar MGF had earlier said it has no “business links” with Rahul Gandhi’s aide Kanishka Singh while Haschke was an independent director for an “extremely brief period”.
BJP MP Kirit Somaiya dragged Singh’s name into the controversy involving alleged kickbacks paid for the VVIP chopper deal, Emaar MGF termed the allegations as “baseless and incorrect.”
With regard to Gandhi, the company has said the two shops sold to the Congress Vice President in a shopping mall in south Delhi in December 2005 was at market rates and rejected allegations that they were leased or bought back by the company.
Apart from filing a charge sheet, the ED has also attached assets worth Rs 11 crore belonging to the cousins of Tyagi and Italian national and another alleged middleman in the case Christian Michel James.
All the three middlemen have been notified by the two agencies under the Red Corner Notice of the Interpol also early this year.