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A Special CBI Court at Delhi’s Patiala House Court today sent Dubai-based accountant Rajeev Saxena, a co-accused in the AgustaWestland case, to four days’ custody with the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The matter was posted for hearing before Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar.
Saxena was arrested earlier today, after he was extradited from Dubai yesterday.
Special Public Prosecutor for the AgustaWestland case DP Singh argued that Saxena was a key accused in the case. Saxena had “created structures” for the money trail in the case and also had links with other co-accused in the case, Singh stated. He thus claimed that Saxena’s custody was required.
He also claimed that till now, Saxena has not been cooperating with the investigation.
While pressing for eight days’ of ED custody, Singh also stated that if Saxena cooperates with the investigation, the agency might not even seek for an extension.
“At the first instance, we want 8 days (of remand) because perhaps we may not require more than that”, he submitted.
Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra, appearing for Saxena, objected to the “background and manner” in which Saxena was brought to India. In the absence of a formal extradition process, she argued that “the manner in which he is brought here is illegal.” Therefore, the remand request cannot be entertained, she submitted.
“The fact is that it is an abduction. The law requires extradition.”
In the alternative, she requested the Court to direct the ED to accommodate Saxena in a hotel or some other place on account of his medical condition. She informed the Court that Saxena was suffering from cancer, and hence required medical assistance.
“I want him to be taken care of in this manner. I am not asking for a 5-star hotel, but a decent place…you (ED) can have guards posted there”, Luthra argued.
Singh, however, stated that the agency was already providing due medical assistance to Saxena.
“We are already providing doctors from AIIMS for Saxena’s health condition…medicines and medical equipments…We are fully conscious. It is not that he is in an inconvenient place”, Singh said.
On being asked by the Court, Saxena confirmed the had he has received medical assistance from the agency after his arrest.
After hearing the parties, the Court remanded Saxena to four days of ED custody, while directing the agency to provide necessary medical assistance to him.
The counsel for Saxena have also been allowed to meet him for an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening.
Saxena is accused of providing the mechanism to route the proceeds of the crime in the AgustaWestland case.
Another co-accused in the AgustaWestland scam, Christian Michel was sent to judicial custody till February 26 by a Special CBI Court earlier this month. Michel, who was extradited from Dubai in December last year, is accused of having helped AgustaWestland grab the 2010 deal. For the said deal, Michel allegedly received over 30 million Euros from the helicopter manufacturer for bribing Congress party leaders, bureaucrats, politicians as well as defence officials.
The other co-accused in the case, former IAF chief SP Tyagi, is currently on bail.
Saxena will next be produced before the Court on February 4.