Nearly two months after the extradition of Christian Michel from Dubai, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, two more accused were brought to New Delhi today from the UAE. Rajiv Saxena, a Dubai-based accountant, and corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar were brought back to India in a special aircraft reportedly by a team of the Enforcement Directorate, senior Foreign Ministry officials and Research and Analysis Wing or R&AW officials.
The accountant, who stays in Dubai's posh Palm Jumeirah, had been summoned multiple times by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the case, but did not join the investigation. Named by the probe agency in their charge sheet, there is a non-bailable warrant against Rajiv Saxena. He was picked up by Dubai authorities on Wednesday morning.
The Enforcement Directorate has alleged that Rajiv Saxena, his wife Shivani Saxena, and their two Dubai-based firms routed "the proceeds of crime and further layered and integrated in buying the immovable properties/shares among others."
Shivani Saxena was arrested from the Chennai airport in 2017 and is currently out on bail.
Deepak Talwar had fled to Dubai after the Indian agencies started probing his role for concealing income of more than Rs 1,000 crore as well as facilitating aviation contracts during the UPA regime.
On December 4, last year, British national Christian Michel was extradited by the UAE to India and is currently under the custody of the Enforcement Directorate.
India is investigating charges that the British national organized bribes to push a 3,600-crore contract for VVIP helicopters to be purchased for top Indian leaders. The AgustaWestland case involves the deal to purchase 12 luxury helicopters for use by the President, Prime Minister, former prime ministers and other VIPs, when Manmohan Singh's Congress-led coalition was in power.
In 2014, the government scrapped the contract amid allegations that AgustaWestland, whose parent company Finmeccanica faced charges of bribery in Italy, had paid kickbacks in India.
With inputs from agencies