Special Judge Arvind Kumar on Thursday extended till February 10, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) remand of businessman Anoop Gupta, who was arrested in the AgustaWestland money laundering case.
“Keeping in view the facts and circumstances, submissions made by the parties, the ED remand of accused is further extended till February 2, 2021,” Mr Kumar said.
“….The Enforcement Directorate is seeking further police custody remand of accused Anoop Gupta on the ground that he is required to be confronted with a number of persons including his employees and other Directors of the Company M/s KRBL Limited and to confront various documents including bank entries etc to unearth the money trail and the complete role of accused persons….” the Court further noted.
Gupta was arrested by the ED recently and 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 some documents on December 17, last year which showed that the accused was controlling financial transactions of the said company. It is submitted that bribe was paid from 2008-2010. The ED also said Anoop Gupta gave an evasive reply during questioning and needs to be confronted with voluminous records.
Advocate Naveen Kumar Matta and Advocate Mohd Faraz who appeared for the ED on Thursday submitted that police custody remand is required to quantify the proceeds of crime pertaining to the transactions between Group Companies of M/s KRBL Limited. It is further submitted that the accused is also required to be confronted with the number of persons.
It is also submitted that the ED has summoned 32 persons who were to be confronted with the accused. Some of them, however, cited medical reasons and did not appear before the ED and therefore could not be confronted. Only four persons could be confronted with the accused and the rest are yet to be confronted in order to find the money trail and role of the different accused persons.
On the other hand, Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa who appeared for the accused Anoop Gupta submitted that accused has been arrested without any justified reason. It is further submitted that the application filed by the ED does not disclose any ground for further police custody remand of the accused.
Sr Advocate Vikas Pahwa further submitted that stronger reasons are required for giving further PC remand. The accused had provided documents as demanded by ED in 2019 itself and has fully cooperated with the ED.
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 being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED. It has been alleged that bribes were paid during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to ‘middlemen’, perhaps even politicians, when India agreed to buy 12 AgustaWestland helicopters built by Italian defence manufacturing Company Finmeccanica at an estimated cost of Rs 3,600 crore.Later in 2014, the said deal was scrapped by NDA Government.