Published On: Tue, Nov 27th, 2018

VVIP chopper scam: HC seeks reply from Centre, ED on woman director’s plea against summons

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Tuesday sought response of the Centre and the ED on a plea by a woman director of two Dubai-based firms to set aside a trial court’s order summoning her as an accused in a money laundering case related to the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper scam.

Director of Dubai-based UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings Shivani Saxena, was arrested by the ED on July 16 last year and was granted bail by the high court on December 15, 2017.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued notice to the Centre and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking their stands on the petition.

The plea also sought the quashing of money laundering complaint against Shivani Rajiv Saxena as well as the third supplementary charge sheet, or prosecution complaint, filed by the agency in the case.

The court listed the plea for December 14, when it would also hear a similar petition by lawyer Gautam Khaitan who has also sought setting aside of the trial court’s order summoning him as an accused in the money laundering case.

Saxena, represented through senior advocate Geeta Luthra, has also sought the court to declare the offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as non-cognisable.

A cognisable offence is one for which a person can be arrested by a police officer without needing a warrant. In case of a non-cognisable offence, a police officer requires a warrant to make an arrest.

The plea, filed through advocates Prateek Yadav and Shivani L Lohiya, has also challenged the power of arrest under Section 19 of the PMLA.

Saxena, director of Dubai-based UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings, was arrested by the ED on July 16 last year and was granted bail by the high court on December 15, 2017.

She was nabbed by the ED from Chennai. She and the companies have been charge-sheeted by the ED under various sections of the PMLA.

Saxena and her husband Rajiv Saxena are residents of Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The charge sheet contains her name and that of her husband, who is also a director in the two firms.

The ED has alleged that the two Dubai-based firms and Shivani Saxena were the ones through whom “the proceeds of crime have been routed and further layered and integrated in buying the immovable properties/ shares among others”.

It has claimed that its probe found that AgustaWestland, United Kingdom, had “paid an amount of Euro 58 million as kickbacks.

The ED, in this case, had also arrested Khaitan, also a Delhi-based businessman, who is currently out on bail.

On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore paid by the firm for securing the deal.

PTI

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