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ED attaches assets worth ₹385.44 cr. in chopper deal, MBIL cases

He was deported from the United Arab Emirates on January 31, 2019, for his role in the AgustaWestland chopper case and arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth ₹385.44 crore of accused Rajiv Saxena in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal and Moser Baer India Limited (MBIL) bank fraud cases.

The attached properties includes a villa in Dubai's Palm Jumeirah, worth 20 million Dirhams, and balances in five Swiss bank accounts, amounting to $45.55 million. Saxena was deported from the United Arab Emirates on January 31, 2019, for his role in the AgustaWestland chopper case and arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

According to the ED, Mr. Saxena was also found involved in the MBIL bank fraud case involving ₹354.51 crore. He manages the proceeds of crime and tainted funds of many high profile and high-net worth individuals. He has also admitted to having laundered money in various other defence deals, as alleged.

FIR by CBI

The MBIL money laundering case is based on an FIR registered by the CBI in August 2019 against the company, its managing director Deepak Puri, wholetime director Nita Puri, the then executive director and their son Ratul Puri, and others. In the same case, the ED last year arrested Mr. Ratul Puri, who was also questioned in the chopper deal case.

The ED alleges that Mr. Saxena, as a “hawala” operator in Dubai, provided accommodation entries in Dubai through numerous entities, known as Matrix Group companies. He allegedly laundered funds in both the cases, which involved transfer of kickbacks allegedly paid in the AgustaWestland deal and alleged diversion of bank loans given to MBIL and its subsidiaries.

In the AgustaWestland case, the agency sent a letter requesting the Swiss Confederation to ensure that Mr. Saxena did not shift, transfer or dispose of the suspected proceeds of crime parked in the Swiss bank accounts. The proceeds were also transferred to the personal accounts of Mr. Saxena and his wife Shivani Saxena, also an accused in the case.

Based on the findings, the assets of Mr. Deepak Puri -- amounting to $16.33 million -- have been attached “in the hands” of Mr. Saxena. The accounts of MBIL were classified as a non-performing asset in 2014. The funds raised by Mr. Deepak Puri were received and kept by Mr. Saxena till 2018. Equity was also transferred from an undisclosed Bahamas-based entity.

“From the analysis of digital evidence and accounts of the Puri family maintained by Mr. Saxena, we found that $16.33 million is the proceeds of crime in the hands of Mr. Saxena, which belongs to Mr. Deepak Puri and is parked in the accounts of Matrix Group companies. Similarly, the assets linked to Mr. Ratul Puri, transferred to Mr. Saxena from an undisclosed foreign entity, have also been attached,” said an official.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 10:22:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ed-attaches-assets-worth-38544-cr-in-chopper-deal-mbil-cases/article31705974.ece

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