Kamal Nath's nephew Ratul received money from chopper scam, ED tells court
NEW DELHI: Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, received money generated from the VVIP chopper deal scam, the Enforcement Directorate told a Delhi court on Monday.
ED made the allegations during the hearing of anticipatory bail application filed by Puri before special judge Arvind Kumar, who extended his interim protection from arrest by a day after the arguments on the application remained inconclusive.
Puri, Chairman of Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd, had on July 27 approached the court seeking anticipatory bail in the case, saying he feared arrest in the case.
Alleging political vendetta, senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Puri, said that two BJP lawmakers joined the ruling Congress party in Madhya Pradesh a few days ago and now the ED wants to arrest him since his uncle is the Chief Minster of the state.
The court had on Saturday granted the interim protection till Monday after the ED had sought time to argue the matter, with a direction to appear before before the ED.
The probe agency informed the court that Puri appeared before it on Saturday and Sunday.
While opposing Puri's application, the ED Monday told the court that he was trying to "frustrate the investigation" in the case.
"In the middle of the ongoing investigation, the applicant chose to leave the office of the respondent (ED) admittedly, only highlighting his non-cooperation and deliberate evasion," the agency told the court.
Officials had said on Friday that Puri left after some time on the pretext of going to the washroom after he appeared before it for questioning in the case pertaining to the now scrapped Rs 3,600 crore deal with AgustaWestland.
ED further alleged that the probe has thrown light on his culpability in the case and his concerned foreign entities, in which proceeds of crime (money generated through crime) were received directly from Interstellar Technologies (a co-accused in the case).
"Investigation has revealed that Ratul Puri has received funds from both the chains of money laundering involved," it said.
According to the ED, while one chain involved middleman Christian Michel James, the other belonged to Rajeev Saxena, a co-accused who recently turned approver in the case.
"Investigation has further revealed that the applicant, using the guise of shell companies in the name of others, accumulated proceeds of crime, which have been parked and later laundered to reach the desired beneficiaries, including himself," it said.
The agency said that Puri was non-cooperative and evasive and if granted the relief, he may tamper with the investigation since he was an influential person.
During the argument, Puri's advocate Vijay Aggarwal told the court that he had already appeared before the Enforcement Directorate 25 times, "which shows that he is cooperating in the probe and there was no need of his arrest".
He also said there was no apprehension that he may flee from justice since his passport was already submitted with the court.
The counsel told the court that there was no evidence to claim that his client was tempering with the evidence.
Puri sought some break time from the investigating officer of the case to go to the washroom but slipped away, officials alleged on Saturday.
It is understood that agency officials then tried to call him over his mobile phone but it was off.
The agency is now mulling to summon him again for questioning, they said.
Puri has been grilled by the agency in this case in the past too.
He is the son of Nita and Deepak Puri, the CMD of optical storage media firm Moser Baer. Nita is Nath's sister.
The AgustaWestland choppers deal was scrapped by India over allegations of corruption and kick backs being paid in the deal.
The ED and the CBI are probing the case and have already filed multiple charge sheets in the case.