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VVIP Chopperdeal: ED summons to two Italians to be served through MHA

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New Delhi (Feb. 02, 2015): Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday informed a Delhi court that summons issued to two Italian nationals, chargesheeted by it as accused along with others in a money-laundering case related to Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal, would be served through Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

ED's Assistant Director Vikas Mehta told the court that they have verified the process of serving summons issued to accused Gerosa Carlo Valentino Ferdinand and Haschke Guido Ralph, following which the judge ordered that summons be issued to them through the MHA.

"The complainant (ED officer) states that he has verified as regards present process for serving summons to A-3 and A-4 (Gerosa and Haschke) who are foreign nationals and summons are to be served through Ministry of Home Affairs.

"Issue summons to A-3 and A-4 for May 25, 2015 through the Ministry of Home Affairs...," Special Judge V K Gupta said.

During the hearing, the court also heard the arguments on bail plea of accused Ritu Khaitan, who along with her husband Gautam Khaitan and others, was chargesheeted by ED.

"Heard on the bail application. Put up on February 6, 2015 for order on bail application, report of summons to A-3 and A-4 and further proceedings on May 25, 2015," the judge said.

Businessman Gautam Khaitan, Ritu, Gerosa and Haschke along with Chandigarh-based firm Aeromatrix Info Solutions Pvt Ltd were chargesheeted by the ED in connection with the case.

ED is probing the case in which 70 million euros (Rs 360 crore) were allegedly paid as kickbacks.

Gautam Khaitan, who was the only accused arrested in the case, was earlier granted bail by the court.

The court had summoned these five accused after taking cognisance of the ED charge sheet, which charged them for offences under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Gautam Khaitan was the first person to be arrested in September last year by ED in the chopper deal case in which CBI is also running a parallel probe.

ED had earlier told the court that Gautam Khaitan was on the board of Aeromatrix which was allegedly a front company for the financial dealings in the case.

ED had lodged a case in July last year against Khaitan, former IAF chief S P Tyagi and 19 others in the VVIP chopper deal case to probe the alleged kickbacks.

The agency had claimed that Khaitan had resigned as one of the directors in Aeromatrix after Italian Police started a probe in the chopper deal.

Khaitan was earlier questioned by CBI in this case. ED had lodged a case in this deal under PMLA, taking cognisance of a more than a year-old CBI FIR.

ED has booked Tyagi, some of his family members, European nationals Gerosa, Christian Michel and Haschke, six firms -- Italy-based Finmeccanica, UK-based AgustaWestland, Aeromatrix and Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech, two companies based in Mauritius and Tunisia, and unnamed persons in its 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.