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SIT on blackmoney to help probe money trail in chopper deal

SIT on blackmoney to help probe money trail in chopper deal The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money will assist in the probe into money trail of alleged kickbacks in the Rs 3600-crore AgustaWestland choppers deal with Enforcement Directorate seeking its help to send abroad about half-a-dozen judicial requests for cooperation.

Official sources said the ED wanted to send about six Letters Rogatory (LRs) to various foreign shores to probe the money trail in this case while the CBI has already got issued five such legal requests through a Delhi court.

“In order to avoid duplicity of task and asking of same questions by the two agencies, the ED has sought SIT’s help in obtaining the LRs already sent by CBI to various countries in this case. The SIT, after reviewing the case, has agreed to write to CBI in this regard,” sources said.

“Whatever has not been asked by CBI and is essential from the point of view of money trail would then be framed as questions of the LRs of the ED which will then approach a competent court for formal issuance,” they said.

A special CBI court, in August this year, had issued LRs to the competent authorities of United Kingdom (UK), Switzerland, Singapore, United Arab Emirates(UAE) and British Virgin Island.

CBI sources, however, said they have not received any communication so far in this regard.

In order to widen its probe into the money laundering probe, the ED is mulling sending judicial requests to about six countries seeking information on bank accounts and transactions to detect the trail of alleged kickbacks money.

The agency has early this year filed a criminal case in the VVIP helicopter purchase deal under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The agency till now has detected that over 170 fake firms were floated to route the alleged illegal funds between Indian and foreign firms.

The agency, sources said, wants to send LRs to Italy, Mauritius, the UK, Tunisia, Dubai and some other jurisdictions in Europe to piece together the flow of funds and money in this deal.

The ED is probing the case under the criminal provisions of PMLA and it has so far arrested businessman and lawyer Gautam Khaitan in this case.

The agency is in the pursuit to track Rs 400 crore of alleged bribe money which was purportedly paid as kickbacks for finalising the deal with the said company.