Updated: November 12, 2021 7:40:04 am
While French news portal Mediapart has claimed payments to the tune of 7.5 million Euros from Dassault Aviation to defence middleman Sushen Mohan Gupta between 2007 and 2012, the CBI submitted in a court last year that payments in the form of “commission” were made to a company associated with Gupta as far back as 2003.
According to the CBI chargesheet, payments to the tune of Euro 740,128 (Rs 4.15 crore) were received in the accounts of Interstellar Technologies from Dassault Aviation between 2003 and 2006 through IDS Infotech.
Interstellar Technologies, according to CBI and ED, was “beneficially owned” by Gupta and alleged money launderer Rajiv Saxena, while IDS Infotech was associated with Pratap Aggarwal and lawyer Gautam Khaitan. These companies, CBI and ED have claimed, were allegedly involved in moving kickbacks in the AgustaWestland deal.
The revelations about payments received from Dassault, the French company making Rafale jets, were made to the CBI by Dheeraj Aggarwal, Manager (Accounts) of IDS Infotech, in his statement recorded on March 18, 2019.
Aggarwal told CBI an agreement had been signed between IDS Infotech and Interstellar Holdings Pvt Ltd (later Interstellar Technologies) on June 1, 2001 for :commission” and the same was signed by IDS MD P K Aggarwal, a chargesheeted accused in the case.
“As per the agreement, 40% commission of the total contract value with M/s Dassault Aviation was to be paid to the agent in the account of M/s Interstellar Holdings Pvt. Ltd. Sh Gautam Khaitan structured the agreement for commission as he was the attorney of M/s IDS Infotech Ltd., Chandigarh. He had asked Sh P K Aggarwal and me to send the payment through banking channels to M/s Interstellar Holding Pvt Ltd,” Aggarwal said in his statement.
He said following this, payments were remitted through banking channels after obtaining approval from RBI.
“As per the agreement, the payments were required to be sent through foreign outward remittances from our bank accounts to the account of M/s Interstelier Holding Pvt Ltd., Mauritius after receipt of payment from Dassault Aviation for the works related to software done by M/s IDS Infotech Ltd,” Aggarwal said, recording details of payments made from the IDS account with Bank of India, Sector 17, Chandigarh.
He concluded his statement saying, “Thus M/S IDS Infotech… paid commission of Euro 7,40,128 to M/S Interstellar on receipt of payments from M/S Dassault for the above projects.”
In a recent report, Mediapart has said that CBI and ED have had access to papers since October 2018 that suggest that Dassault Aviation had paid Euros 7.5 million to middleman Sushen Gupta in “secret commissions” but did not launch an investigation.
Interstellar Technologies was key to moving alleged kickbacks in the VVIP chopper deal case, Indian agencies have said. While Saxena has been chargesheeted by CBI in the case, Gupta has not been arraigned as an accused by the agency but has been chargesheeted by the ED.
According to ED’s chargesheets in the VVIP chopper case, alleged kickbacks to the tune of Euro 12.4 million flowed into Intersteller Technologies. ED has claimed that Gupta laundered over Rs 56 crore of this money. It has alleged he received cash in India which he parked in entities floated abroad.
In its May 2019 chargesheet against Gupta and others, ED said Interstellar Technologies had “received kickbacks for various defence deals” but those deals, it argued, were not the subject matter of the current chargesheet and would be probed separately.
The ED had arrested Gupta on March 26, 2019 based on revelations made by Saxena, who had been deported from Dubai that year. In its court submissions, ED has claimed to have received two handwritten diaries and a pen drive from Saxena that he claimed belonged to Gupta.
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