The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday filed its first chargesheet in a Delhi court against businessman Gautam Khaitan and others, including two Italian nationals, in connection with its money laundering probe in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal. The chargesheet was filed before District Judge I S Mehta who marked the file to the court of Special Judge V K Gupta. The matter will now be heard on November 24.
According to the ED's prosecutor, the agency has also named Khaitan's wife Ritu, Chandigarh-based firm Aeromatrix and two Italian middlemen, Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, as accused in the 80-page chargesheet. They have been chargesheeted for the offences under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the sources said, adding that the agency has given the details of the money transactions of Khaitan and his wife in the last few years and also about Khaitan's business association with Aeromatrix, a firm in which he was a director earlier.
Sources also said that the probe into the case is still going on and supplementary charge sheets would be filed later before the court. Khaitan was the first person to be arrested in September this year by the ED in the chopper deal case in which the Central Bureau of Investigation is also running a parallel probe.
Khaitan is presently lodged in the Tihar Jail under judicial custody till November 28. The Delhi High Court had on Wednesday reserved its order on the bail plea filed by him. The ED had earlier alleged in the court that Khaitan was ‘actively involved’ in the illegal transactions relating to proceeds of crime and he was one of the beneficiaries of the entire deal. The ED is probing the case in which 70 million Euros (Rs 360 crore) were allegedly paid as kickbacks.
The agency had earlier submitted that Khaitan was on the board of Chandigarh-based company Aeromatrix which was allegedly a front firm for the financial dealings in the chopper deal. The ED had lodged a case in July this year against Khaitan, former Indian Air Force chief S P Tyagi and 19 others in the VVIP chopper deal case to probe alleged kickbacks.
The ED had earlier said Khaitan had resigned as one of the directors in Aeromatrix after the Italian police started its probe in the chopper deal. It had said a reference to him was also reportedly made in Italian prosecutor's report filed in a court there. He was earlier questioned by CBI in this case. The ED had lodged a case in this deal under the PMLA, taking cognisance of a more than a year-old CBI first information report.
The ED has booked S P Tyagi, some of his family members, European nationals Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, four firms -- Italy-based Finmeccanica, UK-based AgustaWestland and Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix, two companies based in Mauritius and Tunisia, a few other firms and unnamed persons in its criminal complaint.
The supply of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland came under the scanner after the Italian authorities had alleged that bribes were paid by the company to clinch the deal.