New Delhi: A Delhi court Monday extended the Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody of lawyer Gautam Khaitan, an accused in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, by five days in connection with a fresh case of alleged possession of black money and money laundering.
The court had on Saturday sent him to the ED custody after it alleged that he was operating and holding a number of foreign accounts illegally and thereby possessing black money and stashing assets.
Special Judge Arvind Kumar extended the ED custody of Khaitan who was already being prosecuted in a case related to AgustaWestland and was out on bail.
How Khaitan is believed to operate
The fresh criminal case under the PMLA was filed by the ED against Khaitan on the basis of a case filed by the Income Tax Department against him under Section 51 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.
“It is a fresh case of money laundering instituted on the basis of the Income-Tax Department’s probe under Section 51 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act,” said an official. “Money laundering is a continuing offence,” he added.
Khaitan had been arrested on Friday after the Income-Tax Department ran into details about the movement of some money by Khaitan. He had allegedly laundered the amount through foreign entities and bank accounts. The ED suspects that Khaitan also manages undisclosed funds of some influential families abroad while arranging for deposits on their behalf in foreign bank accounts.
The agencies suspect that Khaitan has links with the Banda family of Zambia, a member of which had allegedly received € 2.5 lakh from IDS Tunisia. Khaitan is believed to be one of the owners of this company.
The ED holds that the lawyer was instrumental in the setting up of a trust or commercial entity for the member of the Banda family in Seychelles to acquire a property in Kenya.
The ED had first arrested Khaitan in September 2014 in connection with the case of AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam. The charge sheet against him alleges he was part of middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke’s channel of routing bribe money.