Enforcement Directorate (ED), the government agency that looks into economic crimes in India, has tighten its grip on corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar. Talwar, who has been under scrutiny in a money laundering case, is under ED's custody since January 31 this year after he was deported from Dubai. He had filed a Habeas Corpus petition in Delhi High Court against the arrest which he termed as illegal. However, yesterday his lawyer withdrew the writ petition and has now applied for bail instead.
Last week, the ED provisionally attached one of Talwar's properties - Hotel Holiday Inn located in Aerocity, New Delhi. The property is valued at Rs 120.20 crores.
Deepak Talwar is being investigated for his role in illegally securing traffic rights for Emirates, Air Arabia and Qatar Airways in exchange for money. The investigation under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was initiated against Talwar in August 2017 on the basis of an FIR registered by CBI against officials of Ministry of Civil Aviation, NACIL, Air India and unknown private persons. It was alleged that Deepak Talwar illegally engaged in liasoning/lobbying with politicians, ministers, other public servants and officials of Ministry of Civil Aviation for airlines such as Emirates, Air Arabia and Qatar Airways for monetary benefits. It was also alleged that Talwar illegally managed to secure favourable traffic rights for these airlines in 2008-09 at the cost of government-owned Air India.
In a presse statement, ED said that their investigation revealed that these airlines made around Rs 272 crore payment to Deepak Talwar during 2008-09. He laundered the amount through a web of shell companies created by him and his family members in India and international tax havens.
A part of the payment was made through an account in Bank of Singapore. The account belonged to a company called Asiafield Limited, registered in the British Virgin Islands and owned by Deepak Talwar.
According to the ED press release, these proceeds of the crime were layered through a series of international money transfers to finally integrate in India in Wave Hospitality Private Limited, which is registered in the name of Deepak Talwar's son Aditya Talwar but controlled by him and his family members.