India’s investigative agencies made another breakthrough in connection with the AgustaWestland case after they extradited Christian Michel's aide Rajeev Saxena and corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar from Dubai on Wednesday night. Republic TV has accessed exclusive visuals of both the accused.
As per information, Rajeev Saxena has allegedly played a pivotal role in laundering kickbacks from the Indian Air Force’s deal with British manufacturer AgustaWestland to buy a dozen helicopters for use by VVIPs. He had been named in the third ED chargesheet in this case and had even Non-Bailable Warrants (NBW) issued against him after he failed to join the investigative agency's investigation despite repeated summons.
Meanwhile, Corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar is accused of concealing income of more than Rs 1,000 crore as well as facilitating civil aviation contracts during the UPA regime. He was also named as one of the accused in the Air Asia scam and had fled the country back in 2018 after allegedly syphoning Rs 90 crore.
The CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED), which are probing the case, had last year managed to bring Christian Michel, a British national who was allegedly a middleman in the deal, to India from the UAE. Both Deepak Talwar and Rajeev Saxena were picked up by Dubai authorities on Wednesday "in assistance" to a request made by Indian agencies.
Earlier on Thursday, Saxena’s lawyers have alleged that he was “illegally extradited” from the UAE and also claimed that he was not given access to his family, lawyers or even essential medicines.
Responding to this, BJP senior leader Dr Subramanian Swamy said:
"Are they saying the UAE government is also complicit in our illegalities? What are they talking about? I think PM Narendra Modi deserves congratulations, for his diplomacy, inculcating basic interests of UAE. Dubai and UAE are no more sanctuaries for corrupt people. This is a big danger for Congress, as their prominent leaders could be in jail and unavailable for campaigning for general elections. This is unprecedented in Indian history, entire credit goes to PM Modi".
On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore paid by the firm for securing the deal.