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Chopper case: HC dismisses Gautam Khaitan’s bail plea

Delhi high court

New Delhi, Dec 3 (PTI)The Delhi High Court today dismissed the bail plea of businessman Gautam Khaitan, who was arrested in a money laundering case in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.

Justice V P Vaish, who declined the relief sought by Khaitan, however, granted him opportunity to file fresh bail application after the investigation in the case is completed.

“The application is dismissed. Respondent (ED) is directed to complete the investigation as soon as possible. After the investigation in the case is completed, the petitioner can file fresh bail application,” the court said.

Khaitan, who is in judicial custody since September 23, had moved the High Court seeking bail after a trial court on October 20 dismissed his plea, saying the investigation in the case is at a “crucial stage”.

On the last date of hearing, Khaitan’s counsel had sought bail for him contending that influential persons, who were also accused in the case, had not yet been arrested by the Enforcement Direcorate(ED).

Khaitan was arrested by ED under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). ED had lodged a case in July against Khaitan, former Indian Air Force Chief S P Tyagi and 19 others in the VVIP chopper deal case to probe alleged kickbacks.

Earlier, the ED and Centre had opposed Khaitan’s bail plea on the ground that there was a likelihood of the businessman fleeing from justice, tampering with evidence and hampering the ongoing probe which is at a crucial stage.

ED had informed the court that there is “damning evidence against him (Khaitan). He is a kingpin”.

ED had also alleged that Khaitan was “actively involved” in the illegal transactions relating to proceeds of crime and he was one of the beneficiaries of the entire deal.

The agency had said that the recent judgement of an Italian court in the case acquitting former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and ex-AgustaWestland head Bruno Spagnolini of corruption charges does not have any bearing here in the probe into a money laundering matter.

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