By Sushil Batra
New Delhi [India], March 30 (ANI): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday filed the ninth supplementary chargesheet in the AgustaWestland money laundering case involving Businessman Anoop Gupta and others including several firms named as new accused.
Special Judge Arvind Kumar said, "There is prima facie sufficient incriminating evidence against accused persons, namely Anoop Gupta, Anurag Potdar, M/s KRBL DMCC and M/s KRBL Limited showing their involvement."
"...Issue summons to accused Anurag Potdar, M/s KRBL DMCC and accused no. 53, M/s KRBL Limited for 05.05.2021. Accused Anoop Kumar Gupta be also produced on 05.05.2021 as he is currently lodge in Tihar Jail under judicial history," it added.
The Court noted that despite its direction to produce accused Anoop Gupta through Video Conference, Tihar Jail Authorities produced him physically on Tuesday.
The Court said, "It is difficult to understand as to why the Jail Authority has produced the accused physically when there is a rise in Covid-19 cases and despite there being directions from this Court to produce the accused through videoconferencing considering the medical conditions of the accused."
The Court also issued a show-cause notice to the Jail Superintendent to explain why the accused had been produced physically despite the Court's directions.
The hearing for the bail plea of Anoop Gupta was adjourned for Thursday.
Advocate Naveen Kumar Matta and Mohd Faraz represented the Enforcement Directorate while Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa and Advocate Sadman Siddiqui appeared for Gupta in the matter.
Earlier ED submitted that Euro 70 million (proceeds of crime) were laundered through two channels for payments of kickbacks to various political persons, bureaucrats, air force officials and others to influence the contract for the supply of 12 VVIP Helicopters in favour of M/s AgustaWestland International Limited.
The ED claimed that it had received documents on December 17 2020 showing that the accused was controlling financial transactions of the said company. It was submitted that bribe was paid from 2008-2010 ED also said Anoop Gupta gave an evasive reply during questioning and needs to be confronted with voluminous records.
On the other hand, Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa argued that stronger reasons were required for further PC remand.
"The accused has already provided documents demanded by the ED in 2019 itself and fully cooperated. The ED is seeking further police custody remand of the accused just to harass the accused who is suffering from a number of ailments," the lawyer argued.
The AgustaWestland case is a corruption case that is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED. It has been alleged that bribes were paid during UPA Regime to "middlemen", perhaps even politicians, when India agreed to buy 12 AgustaWestland helicopters built by Italian defense manufacturing Company Finmeccanica at an estimated cost of Rs 3,600 crore.
Later in 2014, the said deal was scrapped by NDA Government. (ANI)