ED seizes helicopter in Chennai on request of US authorities

India Today
3 months ago

The Enforcement Directorate in Chennai has seized the helicopter of a Bangkok-based firm under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at the request of US authorities.

The seized Bell 214 helicopter belongs to Hameed Ibrahim and Abdulla of the Bangkok-registered Marilog Avion Services Co Ltd. The helicopter was found by the ED on the premises of J Matadee Free Trade Warehouse Zone in Chennai.

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The chopper was seized in the investigation of a case registered by the US Department of Homeland Security over its alleged end-use in a prohibited country.

The US Department of Justice had requested India for assistance in executing the warrant of the helicopter's seizure issued by the United States District Court, Columbia.

The ED's action was in accordance with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the USA. The helicopter was imported by Hameed Ibrahim and Abdulla of Marilog Avion Services Co Ltd, Bangkok, from AAR Corporation, USA, and it was shipped to India via Thailand in 2019. It was then stowed on the premises of the Chennai-based Free Trade Warehouse Zone.

A search was carried out by the ED at various premises related to the Free Trade Warehouse Zone along with the residential premises of the directors of Marilog Avion Services Pvt Ltd, which happened to be the importer of the helicopter.

"The helicopter was kept in a warehouse of a Chennai-based company on a monthly rental basis. During the search, the helicopter was found in a dismantled condition. The rotor blade, tail boom, engine, and rotor hub had been detached from the body and packaged separately," the ED said in a statement.

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