VVIP chopper case: Court directs Rajeev Saxena to record statement for being an approver on March 5

Saxena had earlier told the court that he had no intention not to cooperate and that it was logical at this stage to complete his testimony in a fair way.

Published: 02nd March 2019 11:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd March 2019 11:30 PM   |  A+A-

Rajeev Saxena

Rajiv Saxena, co-accused in AgustaWestland case. (Photo | ANI Twitter)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court Saturday directed Rajeev Saxena, who had moved a plea to become an approver in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland money laundering case, to record his statement before a magistrate on March 5.

The court had earlier marked Saxena's plea before the court of the chief metropolitan magistrate (CMM) on March 2 for recording of his disclosure statement (disclose intentions for becoming an approver), but Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal put up the matter for March 5 after the alleged middleman told the court on Saturday that he was not feeling well.

"The present application has been marked for recording of statement of Rajeev Saxena, who has filed an application under section 306 (tender of pardon to accomplice) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Saxena has requested his statement be recorded on March 5 as he was not feeling well. Request is allowed," the court said.

Saxena had earlier told the court that he had no intention not to cooperate and that it was logical at this stage to complete his testimony in a fair way.

The judge had asked him, "Are you aware that you may not be absolved of punishment by becoming an approver?" To this, Saxena replied in the affirmative.

"I have thought long and hard and I am confident that my exposure to the case is minimal. I have no intention not to cooperate. At this stage it is logical to complete my testimony in a fair way," he had told the court.

He had further asserted that he decided to be an approver on his own free will and with a complete understanding of the case and he was neither given any assurances nor has he taken any.

Saxena had moved an application to be an approver in the case, saying it was "out of free will" and "without any coercion" and prayed that he "will make a full disclosure subject to the grant of pardon".

"The applicant humbly prays, without prejudice to his defence, that he may be granted pardon approver under Section 306 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 subject to the condition that he will make a full disclosure, to the extent, the facts are within his knowledge of which he will make a true and proper disclosure subject to the grant of pardon," his application had said.

Saxena had said that he cooperated with the investigation throughout and made known entire facts regarding the case.

"The applicant cooperated with the investigation during the entire period of remand before the Directorate of Enforcement."

"The applicant has made a clean breast of the entire facts as known to the applicant with regard to the complaint pertaining to the AgustaWestland helicopters filed by the Directorate of Enforcement to the extent known to him," the application had said.

Saxena was earlier granted bail by the court on medical grounds after perusing reports submitted by AIIMS.

The court had said that it was clear from the medical record submitted by AIIMS that Saxena was suffering from a number of serious ailments, including blood cancer and needs constant medical checkups.

Saxena, a director of two Dubai-based firms -- UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings, is one of the accused named in the charge sheet filed by the ED in the AgustaWestland case.

Christian Michel, former AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica directors Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, former Air Force chief S P Tyagi and Saxena's wife Shivani have also been named by the agency in the charge sheet.

The ED, through Special Public Prosecutors D P Singh and N K Matta, had alleged that in connivance with Khaitan, Saxena provided a global corporate structure for laundering illegal proceeds of the crime for payment to various political persons, bureaucrats and Air Force officials to influence the contract to supply 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland.

Saxena was residing in Palm Jumeriah, Dubai and has been living in the UAE for the past 26 years.

Maintaining that AgustaWestland had paid Euro 58 million as kickbacks through two Tunisia-based firms, the ED has alleged that "these companies further siphoned off the said money in the name of consultancy contracts to M/s Interstellar Technologies Limited, Mauritius and others which were further transferred to M/s UHY Saxena and M/s Matrix Holdings Ltd, Dubai and others".

It was alleged by the probe agency that the two Dubai-based firms were the entities "through which the proceeds of crime have been routed and further layered and integrated in buying the immovable properties/ shares, among others" in this case.

On January 1, 2014, India had 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 of Rs 423 crore paid by it to secure the deal.

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