One of the alleged middlemen in the AgustaWestland case, Deepak Talwar, has moved the Delhi High Court challenging his arrest and detention after being extradited from Dubai last month.
A Division Bench of the High Court led by Justice Siddharth Mridul today issued notice to the Central government and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), asking them to file their responses to the plea.
Talwar, who is a corporate aviation lobbyist, was brought to India from Dubai on the night of January 30. He was thereafter arrested by the ED pursuant to a enforcement case investigation report (ECIR) registered in 2017. The case pertains to allegations of money laundering involving the state-run airlines, Air India. He was then remanded to seven days’ ED custody by a Special CBI Court in New Delhi.
It is Talwar’s case that he was “illegally picked” by Indian law enforcement authorities in collusion with Dubai authorities, in absence of any extradition proceedings against him at any point of time.
He has thus claimed that his arrest by the ED was illegal. He has further alleged that the arrest was made without following the procedure laid down in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 as no reasons for arrest were furnished to him at the time of extradition or arrest.
In his petition filed through Advocates Tanveer Ahmed Mir, Arjun Singh Bhati, Dhruv Gupta and Ishan Shivakumar, Talwar has also claimed that he was “practically abducted/ kidnapped” in Dubai even before the expiry of a January 29 summon order issued to him by the ED. As per this order, Talwar was required to appear before the agency before February 4. He thus argues that there was no material to warrant his extradition from Dubai.
Talwar has also challenged the remand order passed by the CBI Court, claiming that it was devoid of application of judicial mind and in violation of the settled canons of law.
Stating that the order was cryptic and arbitrary, the petition also submits that the CBI Court did not consider Talwar’s objection to the retrospective application of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,2002 to the present case.
Additionally, the Petition also seeks an order declaring Section 19 and 24 of the PMLA as unconstitutional.
Talwar was represented by Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi. He was briefed by law firm Lex Alliance.
The matter will next be heard on February 12.