Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, has been sent to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) remand by Delhi High Court for six days in the alleged AgustaWestland money laundering case. Puri was arrested by the ED on Wednesday for his involvement in 3,600 crore scam and the court had remanded him for one-day judicial custody.
The 47-year-old businessman who will be in judicial custody till September 17, has also been accused of a Rs 354-crore bank fraud, illegal transactions and tax evasion by the Income Tax department. However, Puri has denied these allegations and any wrongdoing. The money laundering pressed against the businessman was filed following alleged irregularities in the purchase of 12 luxury helicopters from Italy-based Finmeccanica's British subsidiary, AgustaWestland for VVIPs in 2007 under the Congress-led government. Further investigation revealed that Puri had received funds from Interstellar Technologies Limited. According to the ED, Puri's role was brought to light after Rajeev Saxena, another accused in the case was deported from the UAE on January 31, and the arrest of Sushen Mohan Gupta, an alleged defence agent also contributed to the case.
The AgustaWestland deal was however scrapped by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in 2014 over the alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of payments of kickbacks for securing the deal.
The Income Tax department has attached Rs 254 crore worth of "Benami" equity owned by Puri which he had allegedly received from a suspect in the Agusta Westland VVIIP chopper scam case via shell companies. The court had dismissed Puri's anticipatory bail granted on July 27, after he failed to be present for the investigation. He did not join the probe between July 29 and 31, and on August 6 and August 7. He was not accessible on his phone and was not available at his residence either, and his whereabouts were not known as well, stated the ED.