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VVIP chopper scam: Delhi HC defers plea filed by accused Shivani Saxena

Shivani Saxena was arrested on July 17, 2017 by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 for facilitating kickbacks in the Augusta Westland VVIP Chopper Case.

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday deferred a plea filed by Shivani Saxena, an accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, for siphoning kickbacks of Augusta Westland VVIP Chopper Scam to September 30, due to paucity of time.

A single-judge bench was hearing an application filed by Shivani Saxena for suspension of Look Out Circular (LOC) for a period of three months.

Even though on the previous date of hearing July 9, 2021, The Delhi High Court had suspended the LOC for a period of 4 weeks and granted her permission to travel to Switzerland and UAE, subject to certain conditions, she was unable to travel due to non-availability of flights owing to Covid-19 restrictions. 

The petitioner, who is a NRI, has travelled abroad 13 times since her arrest in 2017.

Shivani Saxena was arrested on July 17, 2017 by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 for facilitating kickbacks in the Augusta Westland VVIP Chopper Case. 

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Augusta Westland, the British subsidiary of Finmeccanica had allegedly paid Rs 423 crore (58 million Euros) in kickbacks to acquire a contract for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP Choppers to the Indian Airforce.

The money allegedly paid by Augusta Westland was siphoned off to M/s Interstellar Technologies in Mauritius and others, who in turn siphoned it to M/s UHY Saxena ltd. and M/s Matrix Holding Ltd. Shivani Saxena is a director in M/s UHY Saxena ltd. and M/s Matrix Holding ltd.

On January 1, 2014, the Indian Government scrapped the contract with Augusta Westland on breach of contractual obligation and alleged charges of paying kickbacks to acquire the said contract.

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The Delhi High Court on previous date of hearing, July 9, 2021 had suspended Shivani Saxena’s LOC for a period of 4 weeks and allowed her to travel to Switzerland and UAE, subject to the following conditions:1. The petitioner shall file an undertaking that she will visit only Switzerland and Dubai, UAE during the aforesaid period. 2. The petitioner will intimate the details of her itinerary to the respondent, including the place where she would be staying and the time when she would be reaching Zurich, Switzerland in order to enable the respondent to make arrangements for an official from the Embassy to accompany her, if they so desire. 3. The petitioner will not tamper with any of the evidence and will not operate any bank account while she is in Zurich, Switzerland. 4. In case any of the above conditions are violated, the bank guarantee will be forfeited to the State. 5. The Petitioner will return back to India within four weeks from the date she leaves the country. 6. All conditions imposed by the CBI Court vide order dated 28.06.2021 including furnishing security in the sum of Rs. 50 lacs, shall be complied with by the Petitioner.

The next date of hearing is September 30.

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