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ED charge-sheets absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari

Bhandari, along with unknown officials of the Indian Air Force and others, was booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation last June on charges of corruption in a Rs 2,985-crore deal in 2009 to procure 75 PC-7 trainer aircraft from Swiss plane maker Pilatus Aircraft.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jun 02, 2020, 10.23 PM IST
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NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a charge sheet against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari on charges of money laundering. This will pave the way for the extradition of Bhandari, who is currently residing in London.

ET was the first to report on April 29, that ED has initiated the process to confiscate properties, worth hundreds of crores, allegedly acquired by Bhandari with proceeds of crime.

ED had summoned three individuals including Bhandari’s wife Sonia and 13 companies, asking them to explain their links to these properties in India and abroad.

This is part of the proceedings to obtain the tag of fugitive economic offender for Bhandari. He is alleged to be a close aide of Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Bhandari, along with unknown officials of the Indian Air Force and others, was booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation last June on charges of corruption in a Rs 2,985-crore deal in 2009 to procure 75 PC-7 trainer aircraft from Swiss plane maker Pilatus Aircraft.

The ED, which is probing the money-laundering angle in the deal, told a Delhi court in March that the individuals and entities it had summoned “have interest in the properties of which confiscation is sought”.

Bhandari and his wife were directors of some of these companies. The 13 companies are: OIS Aerospace Pvt Ltd, Santech Petro Global Pvt Ltd, Santech Energy System & Services Pvt Ltd, Santech IT Services Pvt Ltd, OIS Advanced Technology, Offset India Solutions Pvt Ltd, Santech Investment Pvt Ltd, OIS Transport Technology, Avaana Software & Services Pvt Ltd, Micromet ATI India Pvt Ltd, SB Hospitality Pvt Ltd, Amarajit Motors Finance Pvt Ltd and NIHO Realtors (India) Pvt Ltd.

Besides Bhandari’s wife, one of his relatives, Ayushi Bhandari, and another person named Nelofar have been summoned.

The CBI had earlier booked Offset India Solutions, a company allegedly owned by Bhandari, in the Pilatus deal.

The ED had informed the court, in March, that the offices of 11 companies had been sealed by the CBI. The directorate said it had affixed its summons alongside the CBI’s prohibitory orders stuck on the front doors of the premises of these companies.

Vadra, along with Bhandari and others, is under investigation for allegedly acquiring half a dozen undeclared properties, worth 12 million pounds, in London using kickbacks received from defence and petroleum deals. Vadra has repeatedly denied links to any foreign properties and association with Bhandari.

Bhandari is also being probed by the Income Tax Department for possessing undeclared wealth of more than Rs 500 crore.

He had petitioned the Delhi High Court challenging the ED’s plea in the lower court. The high court in February said proceedings pending before it would not act as an embargo to the proceedings being conducted by the lower court, but that no coercive action be taken against him till further orders.

(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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