The Enforcement Directorate today arrested a close aide of corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar inside a Delhi court in a money-laundering case related to negotiations allegedly favouring foreign private airlines and causing loss to state-owned Air India.
The agency took Yasmin Kapoor into custody after she was produced before a Delhi court. She was lodged in Tihar jail in another case being probed by the CBI.
After taking her into custody, the Enforcement Directorate sought her custodial interrogation from Special Judge Anuradha Shukla Bhardwaj, which was allowed till October 9.
Advocate Nitesh Rana, the special public prosecutor for the Enforcement Directorate, told the court that Yasmin Kapoor was required to be quizzed to unearth the larger conspiracy and for that her custody was needed.
The court, which had last month cancelled the anticipatory bail granted to Yasmin Kapoor in the money-laundering case, passed the order after Mr Rana submitted that she was misusing the bail granted by the court.
Yasmin Kapoor was granted anticipatory bail by the court on March 22, while Deepak Talwar was in judicial custody in the case lodged by the ED.
There were reasons to believe that the tainted money, received from the foreign airlines, was used for the acquisition of Deepak Kapoor's residential property in New Delhi, Mr Rana said.
The ED claimed that several companies, in which Deepak Kapoor was a shareholder along with Deepak Talwar, received the proceeds of the crime.
It said the agency's probe in this regard was underway.
Deepak Kapoor had sought anticipatory bail claiming that the ED threatened her to take names and also to convince Deepak Talwar to give names of government officials or political functionaries, failing which she would be arrested.
Deepak Talwar was deported from the UAE in connection with the money-laundering case. The ED had earlier said it needed to interrogate Deepak Talwar to get the names of Ministry of Civil Aviation, National Aviation Company of India Ltd and Air India officials, who had favoured the foreign airlines, including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia.
The agency had claimed that entities directly or indirectly controlled by the accused received exorbitant amounts from Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia and submitted a chart of a total of USD 60.54 million allegedly received by firms directly or indirectly owned by Deepak Talwar between April 23, 2008 and February 6, 2009.
Deepak Talwar's alleged role in some aviation deals during the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime at the Centre was under the scanner as well.
He was charged by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in criminal cases of corruption, while the Income-Tax department charged him with tax evasion. He is currently in custody in a case of alleged violation of foreign exchange rules by his NGO, Advantage India.
The case relates to alleged misappropriation of Rs 90 crore received by Advantage India through foreign funding.