NEW DELHI: Interesting details continue to emerge in the investigations into the AgustaWestland chopper deal case. The latest being that the data of the pen drive, that was submitted with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) by alleged middlemen and accused turned approver Rajiv Saxena was “not tampered” with and the same was used on a “number of occasions” in the laptop used by alleged defence agent Sushen Mohan Gupta.
The ED in its fifth chargesheet that was filed in May 2019 claimed that the pen drive which was handed over by Saxena was submitted to the financial probe agency on March 2, 2019, after it was brought to India by his staff. The ED said that the pen drive was sent to the Directorate of Forensic Sciences (DFS), Gandhinagar in Gujarat for examination.
In the chargesheet, which has been viewed by The New Indian, the ED said that the DFS retrieved 376 Microsoft document files, 13 drawing files, 85 JPG files, nine video files, eight message files, 459 pdf files, 2 PNG files, 279 powerpoint presentation files, five TIFF Files, 30 test files, 350 Microsoft Excel files, 10 TMP files and 20 ZIP RAR files.
According to the ED, Saxena, in connivance with lawyer Gautam Khaitan, developed the global corporate structure that laundered money for payment to politicians, bureaucrats and Indian Air Force (IAF) officials to influence the contract for supplying 12 VVIP choppers in favour of the Rome-based helicopter design and manufacturing company AgustaWestland.
Saxena was extradited to India from the UAE in January 2019. He has turned approver for the ED in the court, a day before the Gupta was arrested by the agency. The ED, in its probe, has highlighted that Gupta was in active connivance with Khaitan, was instrumental in controlling the flow of proceeds of crime from Interstellar Technologies Ltd and kickbacks have been transferred to different entities or persons having direct links with him.
It also alleged that Gupta was giving instructions to various entities and individuals having direct link with him, including for money transfers to his family members, employees etc. and used to give instructions for this from his email ID.
According to the DFS, “none of the dates against the parameters ‘File created’ and ‘Last written’ in metadata pertain to the year 2017 or later on”.
There were “only a few files where the last created or last written date is 29 May, 2016. Majority of files are either last written or created much before May 29, 2016. Some of the files pertain to 2003, 2004 etc. They have been stored and no changes have been made to them since then,” it said.
“Forensic analysis makes it clear that the data in the pen drive was stored or created or written prior to May 29, 2016 (in few cases) and at the same time, the forensic report certifies that no changes have been made to this data,” the ED claimed in the chargesheet.
It also said that the date of file creation and last written are different for different files. “Thus, it can be concluded that the data stored in the pen drive has been created over a period of time. This establishes the originality of data and the fact that the said data relates to the dealings and financials of Sushen Miohan Gupta and he is the owner of the pen drive as well as the data in it,” the ED said.
The ED further said that the agency also checked the laptop of Saxena’s employee Rica Uy and it was established that the pen drive was used on her laptop. “None of the files present in the pen drive were accessed to modify or alter the content of the files,” it said.
Tightening the noose on Gupta, the ED said that during its searches at the premises of the businessman on June 15, 2016 the agency seized several electronic digital storage devices and data from the three hard drives was retrieved through the cyber forensic lab, set up at the central regional office of the ED in Delhi.
According to the ED, the central cyber forensic lab report received on April 22, 2019, mentions that “there is forensic evidence to the effect that the pen drive tendered by Saxena was logged in many times on the data of the hard disk of the laptop of Gupta, which were seized during the ED searches”.
The ED also said that while Gupta during his questioning kept claiming that he never used the [email protected] email id.
“During interrogation, Gupta was asked to open the said email id. In this exercise, it was noticed that the backup email id for his mail account was [email protected]. Gupta accepted that the vsnl mail belonged to him at one point of time. It was also found that the hard disk seized during the search lists vsnl email id as recovery mail of Gupta’s gmail.
“Thus, it is beyond doubt that the email account of Gupta’s gmail was that of him and was used by him extensively and exclusively for his business as well as personal purposes,” the ED noted.
The ED said, “The data in the pen drive, notings in diaries, the details mentioned on the loose sheets all match with each other.”
The ED shared that Gupta’s handwriting samples were also sent to DFS, Gandhinagar, which contained the diaries in original, original loose documents where he has written in his own handwriting as well as his original statement recorded under PMLA in 2016 and in 2019.
“In its part report, DFS Gandhinagar said that it has been confirmed that notings in the diaries of the pages analysed so far are in the handwriting of Gupta,” the ED said.
The ED had earlier arrested Gupta on March 26, 2019 in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal case.
On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force (IAF) over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED have filed multiple chargesheets in the case and named former IAF chief SP Tyagi and his family members as accused besides others.
Earlier, The New Indian had shared the payment trails from Dassault Aviation to Gupta. Click to know more.
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