New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday filed a charge sheet against lawyer Gautam Khaitan before a special Delhi court in a money laundering and black money case.
The ED informed the court that Khaitan had dishonestly concealed his income derived from structuring of companies and laundered funds through his India-based companies into his foreign entities or companies.
In its charge sheet, filed before Special Judge Arvind Kumar, the ED named four persons, including Khaitan and his wife Ritu Khaitan.
The agency had filed a money laundering case against Khaitan and others based on a case lodged by the Income Tax Department under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act.
Currently in judicial custody, Khaitan was arrested on January 25, a week after the Income Tax Department searched his offices and other properties in Delhi and the National Capital Region. He is in judicial custody since February 8.
On March 9, the ED attached 10 properties worth Rs 8.5 crore in India belonging to him, family members and company.
The ED said Khaitan has held beneficial interest or ownership in foreign assets, company and account, and did not disclose it in his tax return filed before the Income Tax authorities during 2009-11 to 2019-20.
“He holds bank accounts, individually or in joint names of his family members, as well as corporate structures with beneficial interest in three banks in foreign jurisdiction namely, Barclays Bank, Singapore Bank and UBS Bank. On the analysis of his foreign bank accounts, it was revealed Rs 850 crore in foreign currencies are received from suspected accounts,” it said.
The agency said the lawyer has created “structures viz companies” that are under his control to launder the money related to criminal activities like “kickbacks of defence deals”.
“Investigations have revealed involvement of Khaitan in laundering of money for clients across the globe under the guise of providing legal consultancy. For the same, he has been compensated and the laundered money has been received by the accused in his offshore bank accounts and has been invested in moveable assets and properties abroad. The funds generated out of criminal activities are still invested abroad,” said the ED.
The agency said the lawyer maintained two wealth accounts in Barclays Bank, Singapore.
Terming Khaitan as a habitual offender, the ED said there were other pending cases of corruption and money laundering against him.
During the investigation, the agency said, he wilfully did not disclose the details, was non-cooperative and did not divulge the relevant information related to the bank accounts abroad and companies, owned by him and in which he had beneficial interest.
Khaitan was earlier arrested in September 2014 for alleged involvement in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.
He received bail in January 2015 and was re-arrested along with Sanjeev Tyagi, another accused in the case, on December 9, 2016, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He later secured bail.
The CBI charge sheet had described Khaitan the brain behind the AgustaWestland deal.