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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

AgustaWestland case: Rajiv Saxena records his statement

A Delhi court on Wednesday recorded the statement of Rajiv Saxena, a key suspect in the case related to alleged corruption in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal, after he offered to turn approver in the case.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2019 23:17 IST
Namita Singh
Namita Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rajiv Saxena’s (centre, in blue) statement was recorded for around three hours in the chamber of additional chief metropolitan magistrate, Samar Vishal.
Rajiv Saxena’s (centre, in blue) statement was recorded for around three hours in the chamber of additional chief metropolitan magistrate, Samar Vishal.(Sanchit Khanna/HT File Photo)
         

A Delhi court on Wednesday recorded the statement of Rajiv Saxena, a key suspect in the case related to alleged corruption in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal, after he offered to turn approver in the case.

Saxena’s statement was recorded for around three hours in the chamber of additional chief metropolitan magistrate, Samar Vishal. The statement, which reportedly runs into 23 pages, is expected to provide crucial evidence to the prosecution.

On February 27, Saxena had moved an application before the court, offering to make a “true and proper disclosure” if granted “pardon”. The Enforcement Directorate will file its response on his approver application after examining his statement on March 8, the day of hearing.

Saxena’s counsel, senior advocate Geeta Luthra, said her client’s statement was placed in a sealed cover in the court of special judge Arvind Kumar. She said that after the ED reads Saxena’s statement, it would prepare a reply.

Officials at the ED are hopeful that Saxena may have revealed details about Christian Michel, an alleged middleman in the deal who was arrested in the UAE and extradited to India on December 4, as well as his own associate, Gautam Khaitan, who is also accused in the case.

Saxena may also have named a defence agent, officials familiar with developments suggested on the condition of anonymity. There were reports that he may have named the owner of a digital data storage company, but one of Saxena’s close aide denied this.

Earlier, while filing the application to turn approver, he had told the court that he had taken the decision of his “own free will and without any coercion” and that “no assurances were given and none was sought”.

The ED and the 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.

On February 25, Saxena was granted bail on health grounds. The ED did not oppose his bail plea.

The court, in its bail order, observed that Saxena was “suffering from a number of serious ailments, including blood cancer”. He was brought to India from Dubai in end January to face trial in the case.