A dossier received from Mauritius, along with the forensic data analysis and scrutiny of WhatsApp chats has led the Enforcement Directorate to suspect the authenticity of disclosures made by Rajiv Saxena, one of the main accused in the 3600 crore AgustaWestland scam. As per a report in the Economic Times, the investigating agency has now pointed out that Saxena has concealed and withheld information at the instance of co-accused, especially Ratul Puri.
According to the Economic Times report, the Enforcement Directorate has submitted before a court that the accused Rajiv Saxena, who had turned approver in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland scam case, has been misleading them by “playing one agency against the other”.
The Enforcement Directorate will also now appeal before the court to discredit Saxena’s statements during the trial as ED alleged that Saxena has been selectively stating the facts on the insistence of co-accused, especially Ratul Puri, the nephew of senior Congress leader Kamal Nath.
Last week, the Delhi High Court had turned down a petition filed by ED to revoke Saxena’s approver status, which was granted on March 25 last year.
Rajeev Saxena playing one agency against other: Enforcement Directorate
According to the ET report, the ED informed the court that Saxena was “playing one agency against the other” and mentioned about dossier from Mauritius and other reports that revealed how Saxena was misleading the investigative agencies through selective information.
The documents received from Mauritius contained one titled “Consent to act as Director” of M/s Interstellar Technologies Ltd, dated June 20, 2000, bearing Saxena’s signatures.
However, when ED had questioned about the same in February last year, Saxena had withheld information regarding the same and had lied to the investigation team that these signed documents were misused by his lawyer and co-accused Gautam Khaitan. The new information submitted to ED by the CBI revealed that the signatures belonged to Saxena.
The accused Saxena had allegedly operated a firm named Interstellar, which received a kickback worth 12.4 million euros which were then re-routed as “payment of bribes” to influential people, including politicians and bureaucrats in India to influence the VVIP chopper deal in favour of AgustaWestland. The middleman Christian Michel James allegedly routed bribe money to a company through Interstellar, according to ED investigation.
The ED, while asking to revoke the ‘approver’ status of Rajiv Saxena, alleged that Saxena supplied selective information and documents to earn the trust of the ED and the counsels.
ED alleges Saxena hid his connection with Ratul Puri
After receiving a ‘pardon’ from the court in March last year, the ED alleged that Saxena was in contact with co-accused, including Puri, and has been protecting them to prevent a ‘successful prosecution’. The ED also alleged that Puri asked Saxena to provide only selective information during the investigation. The ED also said Saxena had admitted that he was being pressurized by Puri.
Further, the Enforcement Directorate said that Saxena submitted a folder titled “Ratul Puri summary of transactions USD account”, which when analysed with another set of backup emails provided by him on July 23, 2019, revealed that most emails crucial to the investigation were not submitted by him earlier.
As ED questioned Saxena about the information, Saxena told ED that Puri had pressurised him against disclosing that the payments he had received from Global Services FZE were on Puri’s instructions.
As per the ET report, Saxena told that Puri had also asked him not to provide any information, documents or statement that linked his father or uncle in any matter. He also added that it was his lawyer who shared the details with Puri, the ED claimed. The ED added that not only was Saxena in direct touch, but his lawyers were also in touch with Puri, in an attempt to ‘mislead’ the agency.
Laptop data was deleted
The ED had carried out forensic analysis of data present in two laptops provided by Saxena, which revealed the presence of data that the ED had repeatedly sought. However, the same data was deleted before the laptops were handed over to the agency. The ED recovered some of the data and other files could not be opened or were password-protected.
Meanwhile, Saxena has denied allegations of withholding information, while Puri has categorically denied his involvement in the VVIP chopper scandal.
Within days of moving for cancellation of his bail on July 15, 2019, Saxena had submitted documents that he had earlier denied any knowledge of. He had also submitted an email id “email@example.com” which contained emails connecting him to Puri. Saxena also shared documents pertaining to the incorporation of shell companies and emails used for hawala transfers.
The ED said that Saxena started giving information immediately after his brother-in-law was summoned for questioning. The investigating agency also said that in July last year, Saxena visited Mumbai without informing them.
However, Saxena had said it was for an emergency. But, the ED has cited medical records saying Saxena’s condition was not serious. The ED claimed that it scrutinised Saxena’s WhatsApp chats, which said that he had lied about visiting Mumbai for a medical check-up.
Saxena was extradited to India last year
Rajiv Saxena, described by the ED as one of the “key money launderers” was picked up by UAE government security agencies in Dubai and later extradited to India on January 30, 2019.
Prior to the extradition of the two main accused Rajiv Saxena and Deepak Talwar, several startling revelations had come to light in the VVIP chopper scam soon after the case gained momentum post middleman Christian Micheal’s extradition to India. From the names of “Italian Lady”, to “Italian Lady’s son R“ to how Christian Michel was lobbying for the Eurofighter and against the Rafale deal and how he had unbridled access to the PMO under Congress regime, the CCS and even the investigative agencies.