'What if...': Why CBI, ED Now Have Doubts Over Pardon to VVIP Chopper Scam Accused-Turned-Approver
In their respective affidavits before the Supreme Court, Enforcement Directorate and CBI have raised serious concerns over relying on Rajiv Saxena and said that may never come back if he is allowed to go abroad.
Rajiv Saxena was arrested in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland money-laundering case. (File photo)
New Delhi: Three months after Rajiv Saxena turned approver and gained advantage of being pardoned in the Agusta Westland chopper scam case, Enforcement Directorate and CBI apparently have second thoughts about Saxena's credibility.
In their respective affidavits before the Supreme Court, both the agencies have raised serious concerns over relying on Saxena and strongly opposed his plea to go abroad for medical treatment.
ED and CBI have been in unison that Saxena may never come back if he is allowed to go abroad.
The affidavit filed by ED in the top court maintains that Saxena's plea to turn approver from an accused in the multi-billion kickback scam case was allowed in March this year on certain stipulations but he has subsequently been evasive.
"After having secured the order of pardon based upon the aforesaid conditions, the petitioner (ED) kept on demanding relevant documents from the respondent (Saxena) and the respondent kept on delaying the same on one pretext or the order. After having secured an order of bail and order of pardon, the respondent (Saxena) ultimately refused to part with any document on 28th and 31st May, 2019," complained the ED's affidavit.
It also claimed that Saxena has not made "any true and full disclosure of the facts" after being granted by a Delhi trial court.
"Chronology of facts as it has emerged makes it very clear that the respondent, who is accused of a serious offence of money laundering and is given pardon on condition of his disclosure of names and details of several other co-accused and has secured his pardon, is now attempting to leave the country," stated the ED's affidavit.
The agency further said that Saxena has more than one reason to leave the country and not return.
ED feared that if Saxena were to make true and full disclosure about the complicity of the other accused persons in the crime, "the said co-accused may not permit the respondent to come back by whatever means possible."
Assuring the top court that best medical treatment will be provided to Saxena in India itself, ED said they "it is neither in the interest of investigation and/or in the interest of justice nor in the interest of the respondent himself that he be permitted to travel abroad."
ED is represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in the Supreme Court. Similarly, CBI too flagged several issues regarding permission by the subordinate courts to let Saxena go abroad for treatment for a month, and disputed his veracity as an approver.
Seeking to be heard in the appeal filed by the ED against the subordinate court's order in favour of Saxena, CBI said that allowing him to travel abroad will have a "prejudicial effect on the ongoing investigation".
Apart from raising questions over Saxena's statement on a signature on a bank account maintained by him, CBI pointed out that the agency as well as the Income Tax Department have issued LOCs against Saxena, apprehending he may flee the country to avoid facing investigation going on against him.
"The applicant respectfully states and submits that the Applicant has now recently received certain crucial evidence on June 21, clearly implicating Saxena and hence mandating exercise of available powers and discharging of appropriate duties by the Applicant in furtherance of the investigation," stated the CBI's affidavit, seeking the court's permission to place all relevant documents on record as and when required.
CBI added that that as per the intimation by the Income Tax Department, a serious case of violation of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, as well as, Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act 2016 together with violation of the Income Tax Act has been made out against Saxena which also involves serious criminal offences, inter alia, under the Indian Penal Code.
Both ED and CBI put forth their apprehensions on Wednesday before the Supreme Court, which agreed to stop Saxena's foreign travel until these issues are examined at length.
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