The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested another alleged middleman in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal case. Alleged defence dealer Sushen Mohan Gupta was arrested by the agency on Tuesday and produced before a special court, which remanded him in ED custody for four days.
According to the ED, Gupta’s name cropped up in the disclosures made by accused Rajeev Saxena, who has turned an approver in the case. Saxena told ED that Gupta was a close associate of Gautam Khaitan and allegedly helped him launder kickbacks by floating shell companies.
“Gupta has been acting as a defence sector middleman for several years. We suspect his role in other defence deals as well. He would be questioned about them along with his role in the AgustaWestland deal,” a senior ED official said.
Gupta has been booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and was produced before Special judge Arvind Kumar before being remanded to ED custody.
The agency had sought 14 days of custodial interrogation. “It is suspected that Gupta has in his possession some payment details in the purchase of AgustaWestland VVIP choppers and the link is to be unearthed,” the ED submitted in court.
The agency said the investigation conducted so far has revealed that Gupta, during the period when kickbacks from AgustaWestland were received in the accounts of Interstellar Technologies through IDS Tunisia, had direct dealings with M/S Interstellar Technologies. The agency alleged that kickbacks were transferred to several entities/persons having direct links with him.
“Gupta’s custodial interrogation is required to unearth how kickbacks were routed and laundered, the companies involved in facilitating the money laundering, the places where the said tainted money was placed, layered and integrated into the system,” the counsel for ED contended.
The agency alleged that Rajiv Saxena stated that Interstellar Technologies, a company which received the kickbacks, was controlled by Khaitan and Gupta.
However, Gupta’s counsel opposed the remand application and said that his client has joined the investigation as and when sought by the agency, so custodial interrogation is not required.