The Delhi High Court Tuesday sought a response from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a plea by alleged lobbyist Deepak Talwar challenging his detention by Indian agencies after he was deported from the UAE last week. A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued notice to the ED and directed it to file a response to the petition by February 11.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on February 12. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Talwar, contended that his client was picked up from Dubai and handed over to Indian authorities.
"Government of India abducted my client. More so when there was summons for him to appear on February 4. There was no extradition and they picked him up," he argued. The ED was represented by Central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan who sought time to respond to the plea.
Talwar, who is in ED custody, was deported from Dubai on January 30 and was arrested by the agency after landing here. The ED earlier alleged before a trial court that Talwar acted as a middleman in negotiations to favour foreign private airlines, causing loss to national carrier Air India.
ED said it needs to interrogate Talwar to get the names of officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, National Aviation Company of India Ltd and Air India, who favoured foreign airlines, including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia. The agency claimed entities directly or indirectly controlled by the accused received exorbitant amounts from Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia and submitted a chart of total USD 60.54 million received by firms directly or indirectly owned by Talwar between April 23, 2008 to February 6, 2009.
He has been charged with criminal conspiracy, forgery and under various other sections of the FCRA for allegedly diverting Rs 90.72 crore worth of foreign funds meant for ambulances and other articles received by his NGO from Europe's leading missile manufacturing company. His role in some aviation deals during the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) regime at the Centre is under the scanner as well.
Talwar was booked by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in criminal cases of corruption, while the Income Tax Department charged him with tax evasion.