The Enforcement Directorate (ED) was on Tuesday asked by the Delhi High Court for a response on a plea by alleged lobbyist Deepak Talwar challenging his detention here by agencies after he was deported to India 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, submitted that he was abducted from Dubai and handed over to Indian authorities and there was no extradition treaty with the UAE. ED counsel Amit Mahajan 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. Talwar has been accused by the ED of acting as a middleman in negotiations to favour foreign private airlines in the matter of seat-sharing on Air India's profitable routes.
ED wants to question Talwar to get the names of officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, National Aviation Co of India Ltd and Air India, who favoured foreign airlines, including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia. 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 (UPA) regime 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.
(With inputs from agencies.)