Oct 22, 2014 - PRAMOD KUMAR
Evidence collected by Indian investigating agencies into the
AgustaWestland helicopter deal reveals that kickbacks into the country
were routed through a circuitous financial network involving countries
like Singapore and Seychelles. For the first time a Seychelles
connection has surfaced in the multi-crore helicopter deal.
Sources said both Central probe agencies CBI and the Enforcement
Directorate (ED) are planning to send judicial requests to authorities
concerned in Singapore and Seychelles to get details about certain firms
based there. Sources said the CBI is preparing to examine some more
private persons in connection with its probe into the deal. The ED is
planning to send judicial requests to about six countries in this
regard, they added.
The ED recently arrested a businessman Gautam Khaitan in connection
with the case. Investigations by the agency revealed that Mr Khaitan had
allegedly helped the Anglo-Italian defence manufacturer in facilitating
the transfer of kickbacks, approximately 2.16 million Euros, to India.
It has also been revealed that Mr Khaitan allegedly introduced European
middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke to Satish Bagrodia and Pratap
K. Aggarwal, chairman and managing director respectively of the
suspected firm IDS Infotech Ltd (India).
Indian investigators, sources said, suspects the route of stash funds
to have originated from Italy and routed through Mauritius, Tunisia,
Singapore and Seychelles to India. Mr Khaitan was on the board of
Chandigarh-based Aero-matrix and he had resigned from the post after the
Italian police started its probe into the chopper deal in 2012. The
firm is allegedly a front company for the financial dealings of the
copter deal. The ED on July 4 had booked former IAF Chief S.P. Tyagi and
12 others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the
helicopter deal case.