A Delhi court on Saturday granted the Enforcement Directorate (ED) two-day custody of Gautam Khaitan who was arrested in connection with the AgustaWestland scam. Khaitan was taken into custody in a fresh case of money laundering and for holding black money.
During the hearing, the ED had told the court, “He is running less of a law firm and more of a money laundering business. We need to ask questions. This custody is necessary.”
Officials said Khaitan was placed under arrest on Friday night by agency sleuths under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA); he was currently out on bail. Last week, the Income Tax Department had carried out searches against him in this new case filed by the Income Tax Department under the anti-black money law.
The Income Tax Department had filed a case against him under Section 51 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. According to officials, Khaitan has allegedly been operating and holding a number of foreign accounts illegally.
The Delhi-based businessman was an ex-board member of Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix which was allegedly a front company for the financial dealings in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal. He was the first person to be arrested by ED on September 23, 2014 for allegedly laundering bribe money in the chopper deal.
It is believed that the agency acquired fresh leads against Khaitan after the questioning of Christian Michel — the alleged middleman on the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case — who was arrested by the ED on December 22 last year and has been in their custody since.
(With PTI inputs)