THE ENFORCEMENT Directorate (ED) on Wednesday questioned the managing director of realty firm Emaar MGF in connection with its probe into the VVIP chopper deal. It is also looking into some funds that Emaar MGF reportedly received from Mauritius.
Sources said Shravan Gupta, managing director of Emaar MGF, was questioned about alleged middleman Guido Haschke, who was an independent director of the realty firm from September to December 2009.
They said Gupta, whose statement was recorded under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), was also questioned about “business links” with Rahul Gandhi’s aide Kanishka Singh and sale of two shops to the Congress vice-president in a shopping mall in south Delhi in 2005.
The questioning lasted for over five hours.
“Since a complaint has come and some new facts have been brought to the fore, we have questioned Gupta. The company has also received some funds from Mauritius, which we are looking at,” said an ED official.
Much of the alleged bribe money in the AgustaWestland deal was reported to be routed through Mauritius via a subsidiary of IDS Tunisia.
In a statement released to the media, Emaar MGF said, “Executive vice-chairman and managing director of Emaar MG is a law abiding responsible corporate. He has done no wrong and not violated any law of the land… Emaar MGF, as also Mr Gupta, will cooperate fully in every possible manner in the ongoing investigation and will meet the authorities as and when required. We have done no wrong and are fully compliant with all the laws and regulations in the utmost responsible manner.”
Dismissing the “allegations” as “false, baseless and without any substance”, the statement said the company would “do everything within the ambit of law to protect its and its executive’s reputation, image, commercial and business interests.”
Emaar MGF had earlier denied any “business links” with Kanishka Singh, and said Haschke was an independent director for an “extremely brief period”. With regard to Rahul, the company said the two shops were sold in December 2005 at the market rate, and denied that they were leased or bought back by the company.
The Emaar-MGF issue was raised by BJP member Kirit Somaiya in the Lok Sabha today, as he demanded a probe into the chopper deal.
The ED, which has begun the second round of questioning of witnesses and accused in the case, is set to question former IAF Chief S P Tyagi on Thursday.
Meanwhile, CBI has asked the then Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Plans) N V Tyagi to appear before it for questioning. CBI sources said N V Tyagi was part of a team of senior officials who were involved in the deliberations to change the technical specifications of the VVIP helicopters.
The agency questioned S P Tyagi for the third consecutive day on Wednesday. It also questioned advocate and former board member of Aeromatrix Gautam Khaitan, who is named in the CBI FIR as one of the accused in the case and has been chargesheeted by ED for laundering bribe money on behalf of the alleged middlemen in the deal.
Sources said the focus of the questioning was Khaitan’s reported links with alleged middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschkhe.