Monday, November 28, 2022

Arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari to be extradited to India, rules UK court

Arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, wanted in cases related to tax evasion and kickbacks in an arms deal, will be extradited to India from the UK.
The Westminster Magistrates Court in London has ordered his extradition and sent his case to the country’s home secretary for further processing.
Sanjay Bhandari is accused of knowingly defrauding the Indian income tax authorities between July 1, 2015 and February 7, 2017 by submitting two tax returns in which he deliberately omitted foreign assets and foreign income even though, as a resident of India at the time, he was obliged to pay tax on all his global assets and income.
He also chose not to avail of an opportunity to declare undisclosed assets and income. The charges are that he dishonestly made a false representation to the Indian income tax authorities as he was intending to make gains for himself, and that he sought to conceal his foreign assets and income. He is also accused of money laundering.
Bhandari is also alleged to have been a middleman in the Pilatus deal and paid kickbacks to officials in the Indian Air Force and defence ministry to influence their decision to procure 75 basic trainer aircraft from the Swiss aircraft manufacturer in 2009. Pilatus Aircraft Ltd allegedly made payments into the bank account of his Dubai-based company, Offset India Solutions FZC, to obtain the Rs 2,895-crore contract.
Both the CBI and the ED have cases against him in India.
Bhandari fled India in 2016 — despite a lookout notice — after a case was registered against him under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) in October 2016 relating to the recovery of confidential defence ministry documents from his residence during an income tax department raid.
He was arrested in London on July 15, 2020 on an extradition warrant.
Bhandari was reported to have business links with Robert Vadra, husband of Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Robert Vadra had denied having links with Bhandari.

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