NEW DELHI: A local court on Tuesday extended the judicial custody of businessman Gautam Khaitan, who was arrested by the ED in connection with the `3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal. The issue of the jurisdiction and power of the court to hear Khaitan’s bail application in the case lodged by the ED under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was raised during the hearing.
As soon as the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal began hearing the case, advocate Naveen Kumar Matta, appearing for the ED, said, “The bail plea should be considered by the special court only and for the purpose of remand, court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate is competent to decide.”
Appearing for Khaitan, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra said, “If the remand order is not sustainable as it was not given by a special court, then my client should be released now. This court has given remand on the ED’s request and now they cannot say that this court cannot consider the bail plea and it should be heard only by a special court.”
After hearing the arguments, CMM Khanagwal referred the case to the District Judge, who was on leave, to decide on the issue of jurisdiction for hearing bail plea and giving remand.
Khaitan was produced before the court on the expiry of his two-day judicial custody and his remand was extended by two days by Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh, to whom the case was forwarded by the officiating District Judge.
Khaitan was earlier remanded in judicial custody after the ED submitted that he was not required for further custodial interrogation. The ED submitted that Khaitan was on the board of Chandigarh-based company Aeromatrix, which allegedly a took care of the financial aspects of the chopper deal.