The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday said it has attached Rs 7.49 lakh worth of bank deposits of VVIP choppers deal scam accused Gautam Khaitan's wife as part of a probe into a money laundering case against the couple.
The central agency said it has issued a provisional order for attachment of the funds, kept in an ICICI bank branch in Connaught Place, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Gautam Khaitan, a Delhi-based lawyer and businessman, was arrested in this case by the ED in January after it filed a fresh criminal case against him and his wife Ritu Khaitan on the basis of an Income Tax Department complaint under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.
Gautam Khaitan is also a prime accused in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP choppers deal corruption case along with his wife, which the ED is probing is probing as part of a separate PMLA case. Ritu is an accused in that case also.
The agency said in a statement that Ritu held "beneficial interest and ownership in foreign assets, company and account and she failed to disclose the same in her return of income filed before the I-T authorities."
"She has been found laundering money in various other personal and bank accounts of companies in Singapore and Mauritius in which she has beneficial interest," the ED said.
Further, it said, Ritu "did not willfully disclose the relevant information related to the foreign bank accounts and companies which are owned by her".
It also said Ritu was maintaining foreign bank accounts in her name, in the name of companies owned by her and in the joint name with her father-in-law and husband in Barclays Bank, Singapore and Bank of Singapore.
"Documents were also received through letter of requests from banks in Singapore. Upon analysis of foreign bank accounts of (the) accused, it is revealed that there were huge inward remittances," the ED alleged.
The agency said the couple have been found "to be involved" in laundering proceeds of crime for clients across the globe under the guise of providing legal consultancy.
Gautam is a "habitual offender" and there are other pending cases of corruption and money laundering against him, it said, adding the probe has also found his beneficial interests in undisclosed foreign entities and foreign bank accounts.
In the past, the agency has attached Gautam's properties worth Rs 8.45 crore in Delhi, Haryana and Uttarakhand.