AgustaWestland chopper scam: SC stays Delhi HC order allowing Rajeev Saxena to go abroad for treatment

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Updated: June 26, 2019 5:47:35 PM

The bench, which stayed the High Court order for three weeks, also asked the director of AIIMS to examine Saxena's mental and physical health and file a report within three weeks.

AgustaWestland chopper scam, Supreme Court, Enforcement Directorate, Rajeev Saxena, CBI, United Arab Emirates, United KingdomA vacation bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and B R Gavai also issued notice to Saxena on an appeal filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) challenging the June 10 Delhi High Court order permitting him to visit the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Europe from June 25 to July 24. (IE photo)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a Delhi High Court order permitting Rajeev Saxena, an approver in a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland chopper scam, to go abroad for treatment of blood cancer and other ailments. A vacation bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and B R Gavai also issued notice to Saxena on an appeal filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) challenging the June 10 Delhi High Court order permitting him to visit the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Europe from June 25 to July 24.

Saxena, a director of Dubai-based firms UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings, was one of the accused named in the charge sheet filed by the ED in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland scam. Later, he turned approver in the case. The bench, which stayed the high court order for three weeks, asked the director of AIIMS to examine Saxena’s mental and physical health and file a report within three weeks and also indicate the course of treatment for his aliments. It also directed Saxena’s counsel to seek instructions on whether his sister and sister-in law were willing to stand stand surety for him by depositing Rs 5 crore each as guarantee for allowing him to go abroad for treatment of his ailments.

At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, said that certain new facts with regard to other offences have come to light and the CBI wold formally register an FIR against Saxena shortly. He said the question of whether Saxena would return to India or not has become immaterial and the order permitting him to go abroad needed to be examined in the light of fresh facts. The law officer said the CBI has also filed an application seeking to make itself a party in the appeal filed by the ED challenging the high court order allowing Saxena to go abroad for treatment.

“CBI is conducting an independent investigation in pursuance of an FIR… in which the role of present respondent (Saxena) is being investigated into. This investigation is separate and independent than the investigation being conducted by ED though there may be some overlapping of some of the areas of investigation,” the fresh plea said.

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Referring to intimation given to the CBI by the Income Tax department, the law officer said, “A serious case of violation of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act as well as, Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act together with violation of the Income Tax Act has been made out which also involves serious criminal offences, inter alia, under the IPC.” The law officer said besides the CBI, the ED has also filed an additional affidavit. The ED had categorically submitted before the lower court that “in the event of applicant (Saxena) being granted bail he may be directed to join investigation and may not be allowed to leave India”, Mehta said.

The ED, in its fresh affidavit, said, “The chronology of facts as it has emerged makes it very clear that the respondent (Saxena) who is accused of a serious offence of money laundering and is given pardon on condition of his disclosure of names and details of several other co-accused and has secured his pardon, is now attempting to leave the country.”

The top court has now posted the appeal of ED for hearing after three weeks. The ED had earlier objected Saxena’s plea saying he has no roots in India and he may not return if permitted to go. It said treatment for Saxena’s ailments was available in India and the approver was not only disclosing his role in the crime, but also revealing the culpability of others in the corruption case.

The high court gave relief to Saxena, noting that he had already been granted bail on medical grounds before being pardoned and made an approver. The high court also said the ED, too, had not objected to the grant of relief to him. It observed that two other accused in the case, Gautam Khaitan and Ritu Khaitan, were allowed to travel abroad. The trial court had also allowed Saxena to visit abroad for a month from June 6 to July 5.

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