The Enforcement Directorate (ED) alleged that the ‘corporate lobbyist’, Deepak Talwar, who was involved in several aviation deals during the UPA regime, acted as a middleman in negotiations to favour foreign private airlines causing the loss to national carrier Air India.
The Delhi court had granted the Enforcement Directorate (ED) 7 days custody to interrogate extradited middlemen, Deepak Talwar and Rajeev Saxena, another scamster of the UPA era, accused in the VVIP chopper scam.
The agency today told the Court that Talwar received “exorbitant amounts” from Emirates, Air Arabia and Qatar Airways from June 2008 to February 2009.
ED, in its remand paper, alleged that Talwar received ‘kickbacks’ to the tune of 5 million US dollars in his “Bank of Singapore” account from Emirates (June to November 2008). Also, he allegedly received 1.5 crore US dollars from Qatar and Air Arabia (June 2008 to Feb 2009). ED has also furnished details of the accounts “directly or indirectly” controlled by Khaitan which received the payments.
ED maintained that the payment received was “very near to the time of the signing of the respective” bilateral agreements. It added that the said payments were “not usual business transactions” and the same was “basically proceeds of crime”.
The agency had registered a case against the high-profile lobbyist in May 2017, who reportedly made 100 crores during the UPA era, on charges of misusing of power by a public servant who allegedly received kickbacks to make the national carrier, Air India, give up profit-making routes and the profit-making timings in favour of national and international domestic and foreign private airlines. This, as per the agency, resulted in a huge loss of market share to Air India and helped the private domestic and foreign airlines to make financial benefits.
ED special prosecutor, Devendra Pal Singh, said that Talwar’s custody is important to ascertain his role in “association with the bilateral air service talks and the inroads made by him to influence the decisions”. He added “role of key persons and their modus operandi” needs to be extracted from Talwar. He furthered that the agency has received “voluminous incriminating material” against Talwar.
Another high-profile fugitive, Rakesh Saxena, who was extradited from UAE, along with Talwar in the same plane of the government of India on January 30, 2019, who is accused in the VVIP chopper scam, has also been facing custodial interrogation by ED.
Rajiv Saxena is accused in a money laundering case connected with the AgustaWestland deal. He had filed an anticipatory bail plea in a Delhi court last month, which the ED had opposed. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had named him in a supplementary charge sheet filed in the VVIP Chopper scam in September 2017. Saxena and his wife Shivani Saxena are directors in two Dubai based companies, while he is a director in another Mauritius based company, and it is alleged that all those companies received proceeds of the kickbacks paid in the AgustaWestland deal.
On December 4, 2018, the middleman in the VVIP chopper deal Christian Michel was extradited to India from Dubai. He has already made several sensational revelations in front of the agencies. From the names of “Italian Lady”, to “Italian Lady’s son R“. From how Christian Michel was lobbying for the Eurofighter and against the Rafale deal, to how he had unbridled access to the PMO under Congress regime, the CCS and even the investigative agencies.