On September 25, 2009, as first reported in The Indian Express, Emaar MGF Group appointed Guido Ralph Haschke, one of the accused in the AgustaWestland case, on the board of Emaar MGF Land Ltd.
Records from the Registrar of Companies show that just three weeks earlier, on September 3, 2009, the company had also appointed Delhi lawyer Gautam Khaitan, another accused in the scam, on its board as an additional director and later redesignated him as a director on the board on November 25, 2009. Haschke quit the board on December 7, 2009.
While both these persons have been arrested in the past for allegedly laundering bribe money in the AgustaWestland deal, both were also together on the board of a Chandigarh-based firm called Aeromatrix, an “engineering and design support services organization.”
Aeromatrix was incorporated in 2009 and its last reported Annual General Meeting was in September 2012.
Khaitan resigned from the Aeromatrix board after allegations surfaced against the company in 2012.
He was the first person in India to be arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on September 23, 2014. In October 2012, Haschke was arrested by police in Switzerland in connection with the deal to sell a fleet of Agusta VVIP choppers to India.
The political slugfest over the deal resurfaced Monday with BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, in a letter to the chiefs of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate(ED), asking the investigating agencies to “check” the alleged connections of a political aide of the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi with a middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal.
Kanishka Singh is a close relative of Shravan Gupta, the managing director of Emaar MGF Land. Somaiya alleged that Singh is an aide of Gandhi and their connections should be checked.
Asked by The Indian Express why Haschke was named on the Emaar-MGF board, Singh said he “has absolutely nothing to do with the matter” and that he “has been on estranged terms with the Rajiv Gupta family (Emaar-MGF) who, though related, fell out in 2005 when Rajiv Gupta propounded a Will of Shri Ved Prakash Gupta”, which, Kanishka Singh and his mother say “is a case of forgery and fabrication, and the matter has been pending in court since then.”
While Gautam Khaitan did not respond to a message sent late in the evening, the spokesperson of Emaar MGF Land, in response to a query, said: “While Mr Guido R Haschke was an independent non-executive director for an extremely brief period of approximately two months i.e. September 25, 2009 to December 7, 2009, Emaar MGF has had no association with him or any of his businesses/associates other than this.”
He further said that, “He (Haschke) did not attend any board meeting during his tenure of appointment and infact has never visited our offices at any time nor has had any meetings with any of our officials at any time. Furthermore, he has not represented the company in any forum at any time.”
Asked why was Haschke on the board, he said: “Haschke was a registered consultant to the World Bank..and was appointed on the basis of his experience (in the) international financial sector.”
India had in 2010 signed a Rs 3,546 crore deal with AgustaWestland to purchase 12 AW 101 choppers for use by VVIPs including the President and Prime Minister.