The AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam has been nothing short of a fast-paced thriller ever since middleman Christian Michel was extradited to India from Dubai. Several revelations came to light, from the names of “Italian Lady”, to “Italian Lady’s son R“. From how Christian Michel was lobbying for the Eurofighter and against the Rafale deal, to how he had unbridled access to the PMO under Congress regime, the CCS and even the investigative agencies. Now, an important player of the AgustaWestland scam, lawyer Gautam Khaitan, has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Lawyer Gautam Khaitan, a co-accused in the Agusta Westland Chopper scam has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of money laundering. Earlier, sleuths had raided several offices and premises related to Khaitan in the Delhi-NCR area. Per reports, the sleuths have uncovered evidence that Gautam Khaitan not only got kickbacks in the AgustaWestland chopper scam but also in various other defence deals during the Congress era.
Gautam Khaitan has been chargesheeted by both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the AgustaWestland Chopper scam where the direct involvement of the Congress party and the Gandhis is suspected.
Khaitan was arrested in September 2014 for his involvement in the AgustaWestland deal. He was then released on bail in January 2015 and was again arrested again along with Sanjeev Tyagi on December 9, 2016, by CBI.
The chargesheet had mentioned that the kickbacks received by Gautam Khaitan were masked by raising fictitious invoices to ensure that the kickbacks look like untainted money. Fake engineering contracts were created to hide the kickbacks paid by AgustaWestland to companies directly controlled by Khaitan and his associate Rajiv Saxena, a co-accused in the case.
In response to the Letter Rogatory written by India, responses of documents were received from Mauritius, Singapore and Switzerland. The witnesses had spilt the beans on how Khaitan used to launder money.
In Christian Michel’s 2009 correspondence in which he wrote to his fellow middleman, Guido Ralph Haschke. In this correspondence dated December 6th 2009, had asked Hashcke to distance himself from a co-accused in the AgustaWestland Chopper scam, lawyer Gautam Khaitan.
Christian Michel had written to Hashcke because according to him, Khaitan, in cahoots with his ‘friend’ within the Enforcement Directorate (ED) tried to organise a raid against real estate firm Emaar EGF a month before the company launched its Initial Public Offer (IPO). He had also written that the MGF family had learnt of this move.
He had also reportedly written that the “family” employed by Hashcke had been told to “get lost” by Emaar MGF.
The dispatch reportedly reads, “The despatch reads, “I am deeply concerned about this developing situation with Emaar. I wanted to warn you to resign as a nonexecutive director in India two weeks ago but I have been waiting for a certain document to show you how bad the situation is. ..” Michel goes on to warn “the family behind MGF Emaar’s partner are an old, powerful and rich Delhi family. They engaged Khaitan, the lawyers who you recommended to take over AgustaWestland’s legal work. The MGF family thought Khaitan would help them launch their IPO and I know that Khaitan recommended that you become a non-executive”.