After successful extradition of Christian Michel James in December 2018 in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal case, the government has now managed to bring back co-accused Rajiv Saxena and corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar also to India. The two were deported to India from United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the early hours of Thursday.
Indian agencies are investigating corruption angles in two separate cases involving Saxena and Talwar.
While Rajeev Shamsher Bahadur Saxena was wanted in the AgustaWestland money laundering case, Deepak Talwar was wanted by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation for alleged misuse of over Rs 90 crore taken through the foreign funding route.
A two-member team of the Enforcement Directorate, headed by an Inspector General rank officer and officials of Ministry of External Affairs and Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), accompanied the two accused to Delhi from Dubai in the aircraft that landed at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in Delhi around 2.30 am, an IANS report said.
The two were placed under arrest by the ED after completion of the immigration process and medical examination. They will be produced before a court later on Thursday, said officials.
Both Saxena and Talwar were picked by Dubai authorities on Wednesday “in assistance” to a request made by Indian agencies, PTI reported.
Saxena’s lawyers Geeta Luthra and Prateek Yadav, meanwhile, said no extradition proceedings were started against him in the UAE and he was not allowed to access his family or lawyers while being sent to India.
Talwar faces charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery and various sections of the FCRA for allegedly diverting foreign funds to the tune of Rs 90.72 crore meant for ambulances and other articles received by his NGO from Europe’s leading missile manufacturing company. The agencies are also probing his role in some aviation deals he struck during the UPA regime.
Besides ED and CBI cases, Talwar also has a tax evasion case filed against him by the Income Tax department.
The ED had summoned Rajeev Saxena multiple times in the case and had arrested his wife Shivani Saxena from the Chennai airport in July 2017. She is now out on bail.
According to the ED case, Saxena, his wife and their two Dubai-based firms — Ms UHY Saxena, Dubai and Ms Matrix Holdings — routed “the proceeds of crime and further layered and integrated in buying the immovable properties/shares among others”.
The ED had said that its probe found that “Agusta Westland International Ltd, UK paid an amount of Euro 58 million as kickbacks through Gordian Services Sarl, Tunisia and IDS Sarl, Tunisia”.
It also said these companies “further siphoned off the said money/ proceeds of crime in the name of consultancy contracts to Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius, and others which were further transferred to UHY Saxena, Dubai and Matrix Holdings Ltd. Dubai and others”.
The ED had named Rajeev Saxena in its chargesheet and got a non-bailable warrant issued against him.
On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with AgustaWestland, the British subsidiary of Finmeccanica, for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the India Air Force over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of Rs 423-crore kickbacks paid by the firm to secure the deal.
(With agency inputs)