VVIP chopper: Court denies bail to woman director

New Delhi: A Delhi court today dismissed the bail plea of a woman director of two Dubai-based firms in a money laundering case related to the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal, saying the allegations against her were serious.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar dismissed the bail application of Shivani Saxena, an “active” director of Dubai-based Ms UHY Saxena and Ms Matrix Holdings, saying it was not a fit case for bail.

“Gravity of offence and seriousness of allegations, as levelled against accused coupled with role played by her, cannot be ignored at this stage even for the prima facie view for disposing the present bail application,” the court said.

The court had recently issued an open-ended non-bailable warrant against Shivani’s husband Rajiv Saxena, who has been absconding.

The advocate appearing for Enforcement Directorate, N K Matta, had opposed her plea saying if she was granted relief, she could flee from justice and hamper the ongoing probe.

He had told the court that Shivani had not cooperated with the probe, which was at an initial stage.

In her bail application, the accused had claimed that she was not required in the case because investigation was complete as the charge sheet has already been filed.

The ED had on September 13 filed a charge sheet against Shivani, Rajiv and others.

Shivani Saxena and her husband are residents of Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, an archipelago which is home to the most expensive properties in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the charge sheet said.

It alleged 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.

The agency claimed that its probe had found that AgustaWestland, United Kingdom, had “paid an amount of Euro 58 million as kickbacks” through two Tunisia-based firms.

“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,” the charge sheet had alleged.

The ED had also arrested in this case Delhi-based businessman Gautam Khaitan who is currently out on bail. It had registered a PMLA case in 2014 and named 21 people in its money laundering FIR.

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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