AgustaWestland case: Rajiv Saxena’s villa, bank accounts attached
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth $50.90 million (about Rs 385.44 crore), including a villa in Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah and five Swiss bank accounts, linked to AgustaWestland case suspect Rajiv Saxena.
The villa is worth 20 million dirhams and the money attached in five accounts is worth $45.5 million, the agency, which probes financial crimes, said in a press statement on Friday.
An accused-turned-approver in the ₹3,600-crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal, Saxena was deported to India from the UAE on January 31, 2019, and arrested under money laundering act. ED has claimed that Saxena, a Dubai-based businessman, is a hawala operator.
ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are probing allegations of corruption and money laundering in the 2007 contract for the purchase of 12 luxury VVIP helicopters for use by top leaders, including the President, Prime Minister and former PMs. The deal was cancelled on January 1, 2014 over the allegations of wrongdoing.
ED has tried to get Saxena’s approver status revoked, claiming that he misled investigators and withheld crucial information. However, a Delhi court has refused to do so — a decision has been challenged by the agency in the high court.
“Rajiv Saxena manages the proceeds of crime and tainted funds of many high profile and High Net worth Individuals (HNIs). He has admitted to laundering the proceeds of crime not only of AgustaWestland deal but also various other defence deals. The proceeds of crime have also been transferred to the personal accounts of Rajiv Saxena and his wife Shivani Saxena (also an accused in AgustaWestland case),” the ED press release said.
Saxena’s lawyer, RK Handoo, said, “What’s happening is very wrong and is harassment of Rajiv Saxena by the agency. He was made an approver and then now agency is making these claims.”
ED said Saxena is a “hawala operator who runs accommodation entry business in Dubai through numerous companies, known as Matrix group companies, and has laundered proceeds of crime in the cases of AgustaWestland chopper scam and Moser Baer bank fraud case”.
The Moser Baer case is linked to businessman Ratul Puri, the nephew of former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, and his father Deepak Puri. Ratul Puri, who denies any wrongdoing, was arrested in this case. He is out on bail. His lawyer, Vijay Aggarwal, refused to comment.