Hours after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Sushen Mohan Gupta, an alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, a special court sent him to four days of custodial interrogation on Tuesday. The probe agency had sought 14-day custodial interrogation from Patiala House Court in New Delhi.
Gupta, an alleged agent for defence contracts, was arrested Monday night under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). His counsel has opposed the probe agency’s demand for custodial interrogation.
Gupta was arrested on the basis of information provided to the agency by Rajiv Saxena, another accused in the alleged VVIP chopper scam, who on Monday turned approver in the case. Saxena has been granted pardon on the condition that he discloses information to authorities.
ED had arrested Saxena in January this year. He is accused of floating several companies to route kickbacks to “various political persons, bureaucrats and Air Force officials” to influence the deal in favour of the British company.
ED is investigating allegations of money laundering in a defence deal signed by the then Congress-led UPA government with UK-based helicopter manufacturing company AgustaWestland. The Rs 3,600 crore deal was for the purchase of 12 AW101 helicopters for the Indian Air Force. The deal was later scrapped in 2014.
Gupta’s arrest is the third major development in the defence deal probe by ED. Earlier, in December 2018, the probe agency had extradited British national Michel Christian, a key accused in the case, from the UAE. The 54-year-old is accused of brokering the deal between officials of AgustaWestland and Indian politicians.