The Delhi High Court today sought the Enforcement Directorate’s response on a bail plea of a woman director of two Dubai-based firms, arrested in connection with a money laundering case arising out of the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper scam. Justice A K Pathak issued notice to the ED seeking its reply on the bail application by December 1. Shivani Saxena, director of Dubai-based M/s UHY Saxena and M/s Matrix Holdings, was arrested by the ED and is currently in judicial custody. Senior advocates Dayan Krishnan and Mohit Mathur, appearing for Saxena, submitted that the woman has not been chargesheeted by the CBI in the main case but only the ED has chargesheeted her under the Prevention of money Laundering Act (PMLA). The counsel said when the accused was not chargesheeted for the main offence, the gravity of alleged scheduled offence dilutes. They further submitted that the woman has been in jail for over three months now.
The high court had in September dismissed an earlier bail plea of Saxena. She was also denied the relief by the trial court. Saxena was nabbed on July 17 by the ED from Chennai under the provisions of the PMLA. The ED has chargesheeted her and the companies under various sections of the PMLA. Saxena and her husband Rajiv Saxena are residents of Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The charge sheet contains her name and that of her husband, who is also a director in the two firms. Rajiv Saxena has been evading ED summons and not joining the probe, the ED had alleged. The agency has so far not arrayed him as an accused. The ED has alleged that the two Dubai-based firms and Shivani Saxena were the ones through whom “the proceeds of crime have been routed and further layered and integrated in buying the immovable properties/shares among others”.
The agency has claimed its probe found that AgustaWestland, United Kingdom, had “paid an amount of Euro 58 million as kickbacks” through two Tunisia-based firms. “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,” the charge sheet has said. The ED had also claimed that Rajiv was the “beneficial owner of M/s Interstellar Technologies Limited, Mauritius”. It has alleged that both the Dubai-based companies of the couple “received the proceeds of crime in their respective Dubai bank accounts” from the Mauritius-based firm.
The ED, in this case, had also arrested Delhi-based businessman Gautam Khaitan who is currently out on bail. The ED had registered a PMLA case in 2014 and named 21 people, including Tyagi, in its money laundering FIR. On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore paid by the firm for securing the deal.