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VVIP choppers scam accused Rajiv Saxena arrested in money laundering case

VVIP choppers scam accused Rajiv Saxena arrested in money laundering case

Saxena was deported from Dubai to India in January 2019 before his arrest. This was the 2nd high-profile arrest in the case after Christian Michel, a British arms dealer, was extradited to India in 2018

The ED has alleged Saxena is a hawala operator who runs accommodation entry business in Dubai through numerous companies The ED has alleged Saxena is a hawala operator who runs accommodation entry business in Dubai through numerous companies

The country's premier investing agency Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Rajiv Saxena in a money-laundering case linked to alleged bank fraud, officials told today.

Notably, Saxena is also accused in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP choppers scam. India scrapped the deal in 2014 after the allegations of payment of kickbacks had surfaced. Apart from these two, his role is under probe in several other cases.

Saxena was deported from Dubai to India in January 2019 before his arrest by the ED. This was the second high-profile arrest in the case after Christian Michel, a British arms dealer and middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal, was arrested in the UAE and then extradited to India in December 2018. He was later granted bail in the case.

As per the ED, "Saxena is a hawala operator who runs accommodation entry business in Dubai through numerous companies, known as Matrix group companies, and has laundered proceeds of crime in the cases of AgustaWestland chopper scam (linked to purchase of VVIP choppers by India) and Moser Baer bank fraud case."

"Saxena created structures for laundering proceeds of crime generated by accused of both cases either for the kickbacks in AgustaWestland case or defrauding banks by mis-utilising the loans given to Moser Baer India Ltd and its subsidiaries," the ED had alleged.

The ED had earlier told the Patiala House Court that Saxena -- along with co-accused Gautam Khaitan, a Delhi-based lawyer and arms dealer Christian Michel -- had the full knowledge of the chain of bribery and is accused of laundering the "proceeds of crime" in the VVIP chopper case.

The CBI, in its charge sheet, also alleged an estimated loss of 398.21 million euros (about Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010, for the supply of VVIP choppers worth 556.262 million euros.

With PTI inputs

Also Read: AgustaWestland case: ED attaches Christian Michel's ex-wife property worth Rs 5.83 crore in Paris

Also read: AgustaWestland case: CBI court allows Rajiv Saxena to turn approver