In a major boost to agencies probing high-profile corruption cases, a Dubai-based businessman wanted in the VVIP choppers case and a corporate aviation lobbyist are being deported to India, officials said on Wednesday.
They said in the first case, Rajeev Shamsher Bahadur Saxena, was picked up by Dubai authorities early Wednesday in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP choppers money laundering case.
He is expected to be handed over to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing his role under money laundering charges. Saxena, who is also an accountant, is being deported by Dubai authorities on the basis of a non-bailable warrant issued by a court on the request of the ED, they said.
A co-accused and alleged middleman in this case, British national Christian James Michel was recently extradited from Dubai to India (in December last year). He is currently in judicial custody.
Saxena's lawyers alleged that no extradition proceedings were started against him in the UAE and he was not allowed to access his family or lawyers while being sent to India.
It is also understood that corporate aviation lobbyist Deepak Talwar, wanted by the ED and the CBI in a case of misusing over Rs 90 crore taken through the foreign funding route as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR), is also being deported along with Rajeev Saxena from Dubai.
Talwar has been charged with criminal conspiracy, forgery and under various sections of the FCRA for allegedly diverting Rs 90.72 crore worth of foreign funds meant for ambulances and other articles received by his NGO from Europe's leading missile manufacturing company.
His role in some aviation deals during the UPA government's regime is under scanner. Talwar has been booked by the ED and the CBI in criminal cases of corruption, even as the Income Tax Department has charged him with tax evasion.
The ED had summoned Rajeev Saxena, a resident of Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, multiple times in the case and had arrested his wife Shivani Saxena from the Chennai airport in July, 2017. She is now out on bail.
The ED had alleged that Rajeev Saxena, his wife and their two Dubai-based firms -- Ms UHY Saxena, Dubai and Ms Matrix Holdings -- routed "the proceeds of crime and further layered and integrated in buying the immovable properties/shares among others".
The ED had said that its probe found that "Agusta Westland International Ltd, UK paid an amount of Euro 58 million as kickbacks through Gordian Services Sarl, Tunisia and IDS Sarl, Tunisia.
"These companies further siphoned off the said money/ proceeds of crime in the name of consultancy contracts to Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius, and others which were further transferred to UHY Saxena, Dubai and Matrix Holdings Ltd. Dubai and others," the ED had charged.
The ED had said Rajeev Saxena is "beneficial owner" of Interstellar Technologies Ltd and both his companies received proceeds of crime in their respective Dubai bank accounts from this firm. It had said the couple have remitted/ transferred a "huge amount of money" through their Dubai-based companies to various other accounts.
The ED had named Rajeev Saxena in its charge sheet filed in this case and had got issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore paid by the firm for securing the deal.