Chopper Scam: SC stays HC order dismissing ED’s plea to revoke approver status of Rajiv Saxena  

By: |
December 4, 2020 7:29 PM

Dubai-based businessman Saxena was extradited to India on January 31 last year in connection with the Rs 3,600-crore scam case relating to the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland.

Supreme Court has stayed the verdict of the Delhi High Court

The Supreme Court Friday stayed the verdict of the Delhi High Court which had dismissed the plea of Enforcement Directorate (ED) to revoke approver status of businessman Rajiv Saxena in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde issued notice to Saxena seeking his response on the appeal filed by ED against the high court’s June 8 judgement.

“Issue notice. In the meantime, there shall be stay of operation of the impugned order,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

Dubai-based businessman Saxena was extradited to India on January 31 last year in connection with the Rs 3,600-crore scam case relating to the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland.

During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing on Friday, Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for the ED, told the bench that there was a ‘clear error’ on the part of high court as it had said that pardon can be revoked only after he deposes as witness.

“There is a provision in the CrPC that pardon can be withdrawn if he fails to give any evidence,” the bench observed.

The high court, in its verdict, had said that ED’s plea before the trial court for revoking the approver status was not maintainable as his statement under section 306 (4) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) had not been recorded.

Section 306 (4) of CrPC provides for recording of statement of an accomplice who has been granted pardon.

The high court had further said that once his statement under section 306 (4) of CrPC is recorded, the ED can again move an application for revoking Saxena’s approver status.

ED had sought revocation of Saxena’s approver status in the high court claiming that he had undertaken to disclose all the facts related to the offence but he was not doing so.

The probe agency had challenged the trial court order, which had refused to revoke Saxena’s approver status, in the high court.

ED, in its plea before the trial court, had said that while seeking pardon, Saxena had said he will make full disclosure of the facts within his knowledge and his statement was recorded in March last year after which he was granted pardon.

The agency had said that Saxena was allowed to be an approver by the trial court subject to his making full and true disclosure of the whole of circumstances within his knowledge relating to the offence.

ED had alleged that Saxena has very strategically withheld and not disclosed full and true facts which were within his knowledge relating to the commission of the offence and has deliberately hidden and fabricated certain documents to shield the other co-accused, which was contrary to the terms of the grant of pardon granted by the trial court.

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