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VVIP Chopper scam: Court grants bail to Ritu Khaitan

VVIP Chopper scam: Court grants bail to Ritu Khaitan
Special Judge V K Gupta enlarged Ritu on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs five lakh with one surety of the like amount. She had appeared before the court in pursuance to the summons issued against her.

Businessman Gautam Khaitan, Ritu, Italian national Gerosa Carlo Valentino Ferdinand and Haschke Guido Ralph, along with Chandigarh-based firm Aeromatrix Info Solutions Pvt Ltd, were chargesheeted by the ED in connection with the case.

ED is probing the case in which 70 million euros (Rs 360 crore) were allegedly paid as kickbacks in a deal to supply 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland, which came under the scanner after the Italian authorities alleged that bribes were paid by the company to clinch it.

Gautam Khaitan, who was the only accused arrested in the case, was earlier granted bail by the court.

During the arguments on Ritu’s bail plea, senior advocate P V Kapur and advocate P K Dubey, both of whom appeared for her, argued that there was no need to take their client in custody as she had cooperated in the probe and the ED has already filed its complaint in the case.

The court had summoned the five accused after taking cognisance of the ED charge sheet, charging them with offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Gautam Khaitan was the first to be arrested last September by ED in the money laundering case in the chopper deal in which CBI is also running a parallel probe.

ED had earlier told the court that summons issued to the two Italian nationals would be served through the Home Ministry.

ED had lodged a case in July last year against Khaitan, former IAF chief S P Tyagi and 19 others in the VVIP chopper deal case to probe the alleged kickbacks.

It had booked Tyagi, some of his family members, European nationals Gerosa, Christian Michel and Haschke, six firms -- Italy-based Finmeccanica, UK-based AgustaWestland, Aeromatrix and Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech, two companies based in Mauritius and Tunisia, and unnamed persons in its complaint.

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