The Enforcement Directorate today told a special CBI court in Delhi that it has no objection to alleged middleman Rajeev Saxena turning approver in the AgustaWestland money laundering case because he has "fully cooperated in the probe by providing crucial documents and evidence".
Rajeev Saxena, accused of facilitating deals in the multi-crore chopper scam, was extradited from the United Arab Emirates in January 2019. He was subsequently arrested by the probe agency and released on bail.
In the following weeks, the alleged middleman moved an application before the court to turn approver. A statement recorded by him was shared with the Enforcement Directorate for its response.
The investigation agency gave its submission today. "The accused has fully cooperated in the investigation by providing crucial documents and evidence that are necessary to unravel the truth in this case," it said. Special CBI judge Arvind Kumar then posted the matter for hearing on March 25.
The Enforcement Directorate's nod for Rajeev Saxena's request came two days after it moved court to question another accused, Christian Michel, in connection with the case. The latter also filed an application at the same time, asking to be shifted from a high-risk cell in Delhi's Tihar Jail to a regular one meant for convicts in white-collar crimes.
"I am being kept in a high-risk cell where Kashmiri separatists are lodged. My next door inmate is Gangster Chhota Rajan. Why am I being kept there? This is mental torture," Christian Michel said in court on Tuesday.
In its response, the Enforcement Directorate today said that that the alleged middleman was being kept in a high-security prison due to safety concerns. "As he was extradited, it is our country's responsibility to ensure his security," it clarified.
The defence counsel, however, said that Christian Michel's rights should not be curtailed "in the name of security", and he should be treated on a par with other white collar crime accused lodged in Tihar". The court heard both the sides before adjourning the case for March 16.
Although Michel was earlier lodged in Tihar's jail no. 7 along with other white-collar accused, he was shifted to the high-security jail no. 2 on February 18.
Christian Michel and Rajeev Saxena are two of the three alleged middlemen being investigated in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam. They are accused of organising bribes for politicians and bureaucrats to push for the deal involving 12 luxury choppers during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance rule.