NEW DELHI: A city court on Monday dismissed the bail plea of businessman Gautam Khaitan, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case related to the ` 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.
Special judge V K Gupta denied bail to Khaitan, who is presently in judicial custody. Khaitan’s counsel had sought bail contending that he was a soft target and influential persons, who are also accused in the case, were not yet arrested by the ED.
Khaitan had submitted that in a similar case, an Italian court had exonerated two foreign nationals accused on charges of bribery and corruption in India and in this view, the ED allegation that he had received kickbacks now stands eroded.
The ED opposed the bail plea of Khaitan and had contended that there was a likelihood of Khaitan fleeing from justice, tampering with the evidence and hampering the ongoing probe which is at a crucial stage and some persons are yet to be investigated. Besides, the ED had clarified that the recent judgment of the Italian court in the case acquitting former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and ex-AgustaWestland head Bruno Spagnolini of corruption charges did not have any bearing on the probe into a money laundering case here.
The Italian court had on October 9 acquitted Orsi and Spagnolini of graft charges in the chopper deal with India. They, however, were sentenced to a two-year jail term on lesser charges of falsification of invoices.