Business Today

AgustaWestland case: Rajeev Saxena may turn witness; unmask politicians, bureaucrats who received bribe money

The ED believes that Saxena has the complete knowledge of the money paid as bribe to the Indian counterparts in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In        Last Updated: February 13, 2019  | 16:17 IST
AgustaWestland case: Rajeev Saxena may turn witness; unmask politicians, bureaucrats who received bribe money
Rajeev Saxena, one of the key accused in the AgustaWestland case, turning approver could lead to several politicians, bureaucrats, and others being implicated for receiving bribes. Photo credit: ANI

In a critical turn of events, the Enforcement Directorate is trying to convince key accused Rajeev Saxena to become a witness in the AgustaWestland case. If this comes to fruition, Saxena could reveal some big names who received bribe money in the acquisition of AgustaWestland choppers for VVIPs.

The ED believes that Saxena has the complete knowledge of the money paid as bribe to the Indian counterparts in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal. This list of counterparts could include some Indian politicians, bureaucrats, as well as Air Force and defence officials.

Three companies owned by Rajiv Saxena - Intersellar Technologies (Mauritius), UHY Saxena (Dubai) and Matrix Holding (Dubai) - received kickbacks from Tunisia-based Gordian Services Sarl and IDS Technologies, India Today reported while quoting the agency. These two Tunisian firms were allegedly set up by Gautam Khaitan, another accused in the AgustaWestland scam, and had middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke as directors.

The ED had earlier told the Patiala House Court that Saxena was responsible for establishing a route to deliver the bribe money allegedly paid to defence officials and politicians. The agency has also claimed that Saxena, along with Khaitan and Christian Michel, has the full knowledge of the chain of bribery.

Saxena, a Dubai-based businessman, along with lobbyist Deepak Talwar, was deported from Dubai on January 31 and sent to four-day custody of the ED the same day. This was the second high-profile arrest in the case after Christian Michel, a British arms dealer and middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal.

During the UPA regime, the deal was to acquire 12 AW101 choppers from AgustaWestland for Rs 3,600 crore. These helicopters were meant to be used by VVIPs like the Prime Minister and the President. Later, Bruno Spagnolini, then AgustaWestland CEO, and Giuseppe Orsi, the former president of Finmeccanica, were arrested on charges of paying bribes to bag the deal with IAF.

Th UPA regime initially put the deal on hold - keeping the received choppers in mothball status - while ordering a probe into the allegations. Then in January 2014, the deal was cancelled entirely citing breach of contractual obligations. The Central Bureau of Investigation had alleged there was an estimated loss of approximately Rs 2,666 crore to the exchequer due to this scrapped deal.

ALSO READ:PM Modi attacks Congress on Christian Michel's role in stalling Rafale deal

Youtube
  • Print

  • COMMENT
BT-Story-Page-B.gif
A    A   A
close