New Delhi: Within hours of their extradition from the UAE, Rajeev Saxena, an accused in the multi-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal scam, and lobbyist Deepak Talwar, were being questioned separately by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday morning, according to sources.
Saxena and Talwar were extradited from Dubai, UAE, to India and were arrested by ED at 2:00 am on Thursday. They both reached the ED office at 4 am.
Saxena will be produced before Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar later on Thursday.
Saxena and Talwar were brought in a plane of the Government of India at 11.30 pm on Wednesday. After all the formalities they were arrested by ED.
Soon after the arrest, Saxena and Talwar were taken to Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital for the medical checkup.
Their extradition comes as a major breakthrough for the investigating agencies after Christian Michel’s extradition in December last year.
Talwar is being probed for allegedly concealing income of over Rs 1,000 crore and playing a role in aviation contracts during the UPA regime.
Saxena’s lawyers, Geeta Luthra, and Prateek Yadav said that “Rajeev Saxena was picked up by the UAE state security from his residence on Wednesday morning at 9:30 am (local time) and illegally extradited to India at around 5:30 pm (local time). No extradition proceedings started in the UAE.”
“He was not allowed access to his family or lawyers or essential daily medicine. He was on-boarded onto a private jet from a private terminal at Dubai international airport. When his lawyers were asked to speak to the UAE state security and demanded to understand what happened, they were told that he’s on the flight and can’t be stopped.
When they queried further, they were told to ask the Indian government,” Saxena’s lawyers further said.
In December last year, the UAE government extradited Christian Michel, a British national and alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal scam. Michel was arrested on December 5 last year after being extradited to India from Dubai.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in December last year, in a reply against Dubai-based businessman Saxena’s bail plea, had informed the court about the request for his extradition from Dubai as he had failed to join the investigation even after repeated summons.
On October 6 last year, a court here had issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against Saxena after the ED informed the court that he was not joining the investigation even after repeated summons. Saxena’s name figured in a charge sheet filed against his wife Shivani, currently out on bail after being arrested by the ED.
The AgustaWestland helicopter deal, finalized during the previous government headed by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, got mired in the allegations of kickbacks.
According to the ED charge sheet, Michel had received kickbacks to the tune of 30 million Euros from AgustaWestland for the deal involving the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters. The deal, signed in 2007, was scrapped in 2013 following the surface of bribery allegation.