Assets worth Rs 8.46 crore of Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan, an accused in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP choppers scam case, have been attached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as part of a second criminal probe against him for allegedly possessing undisclosed foreign accounts, the agency said Monday.
Properties of Mr Khaitan located in Delhi, Haryana and Uttarakhand have been provisionally attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), it said in a statement.
Mr Khaitan has been out on bail in the AgustaWestland VVIP choppers case and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a fresh criminal case under PMLA against him and arrested him on January 25. The latest case was filed by the agency taking cognisance of an Income Tax Department case under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) Act.
He is in judicial custody in this case.
It said Mr Khaitan "held beneficial interest, ownership in foreign assets/company/accounts and had failed to disclose these in his return of income filed before the I-T authorities."
"It was also revealed during investigation that he had been found laundering money in various personal and company bank accounts in Singapore and Mauritius and that he willfully did not disclose the relevant information related to the foreign bank accounts and companies which are beneficially owned by him," the agency said.
It said probe revealed that Mr Khaitan "maintained six foreign bank accounts in his name, in the name of companies owned by him through hundred per cent shareholding and in joint name with his father and wife in three banks namely Barclays Bank, Singapore Bank and UBS Bank".
"On the analysis of these foreign bank accounts, it was revealed that he (Khaitan) received huge amounts in foreign currencies. Documents from foreign banks through Letter of Requests (judicial requests) were received from Singapore and Mauritius.
"These documents revealed that in order to receive huge amount of beneficial interests, Khaitan in furtherance of criminal conspiracy structured, laundered and layered the proceeds of crime or the black money by concealing and routing the same through his foreign bank accounts of different entities," it said.
The ED alleged Mr Khaitan is "involved in laundering the proceeds of crime for clients across the globe under the guise of providing legal consultancy".
For this, it said, Mr Khaitan "has been compensated and the said money has been siphoned off by the accused in his offshore bank accounts".
"Gautam Khaitan is a habitual offender and there are other pending cases of corruption and money laundering against him," it said referring to the VVIP choppers PMLA case.