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AgustaWestland case: Court dismisses ED plea on Gautam Khaitan's bail plea cancellation

Thursday - March 4, 2021 9:36 pm , Category : INDIA
New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) A Delhi Court has dismissed an application filed by Enforcement Directorate (ED) for cancellation of bail granted to Gautam Khaitan in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam case.
After cancelling the application, Special Judge Arvind Kumar imposed additional bail conditions on Khaitan, including that he has to report in the ED office once in the week and not contact any witness of this case particularly one Pareen Khan.
The court made it clear that the conduct of the accused shall be considered at the time of considering request of the accused for permission to travel abroad, if made.
It is the case of the investigating agency that Khaitan floated and used various shell companies in his name, and also the name of his clients to launder the proceeds of crime arising out of 12 VVIP helicopter deal between the Indian government and AgustaWestland.
Counsel for the ED submitted that accused was granted bail on January 9, 2015 subject to the conditions that he shall not contact any of the witness and not tamper with evidence and join investigation as and when required.
The Enforcement Directorate sought cancellation of the bail on the ground that accused had not joined investigation, contacted one of the witness Pareen Khan and asked her not to join investigation, painted wrong picture of ED and tried to scare her by giving example of accused Shivani Saxena and that she will be detained if she comes to India to join investigation.
It was also alleged by the agency that the accused sought permission to travel abroad in order meet the witness. The ED has mainly based its case for cancellation of bail on WhatsApp chat conversation dated July 23, 2019 between him and Khan and statements of the latter recorded.
On the other hand, Counsel for the accused senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra and Advocate Pramod Dubey told the court that their client has been cooperated with the agency with regards to the investigation and attended all the court hearings in the last five years.

--IANS aka/pgh