A Special court at the Rouse Avenue Court Complex in New Delhi on Monday, October 21, allowed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to further interrogate businessman Ratul Puri in Tihar jail for three days in connection to a money laundering case involving a Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper. Notably, Ratul Puri was arrested by the ED on September 3. Puri who is the nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath is accused of allegedly receiving kickbacks in the deal.
Special judge Arvind Kumar permitted the Enforcement Directorate to investigate Puri from October 22 to 24. It also allowed counselor access to Ratul Puri's lawyer for 30 min on the same days. This came after the agency moved an application in the court and in a sealed cover, cited several reasons to conduct the investigation. Special Public Prosecutor D P Singh and advocate N K Matta who are representing the ED, submitted that they want to confront Puri with a witness. They, however, did not disclose the name owing to the possibility of an attempt to influence the witness. Ratul Puri's counsel Vijay Aggarwal did not object to the appeal and stated that his client will duly cooperate.
The 47-year-old businessman has also been accused of a 354-crore bank fraud case, illegal transactions and tax evasion by the Income Tax Department. The Enforcement Directorate had arrested Puri on August 20 in connection with its investigation into alleged laundering of money. Apart from Ratul Puri, his father and Managing Director of Moser Baer Deepak Puri, Directors Nita Puri (Ratul’s mother and Kamal Nath’s sister), Sanjay Jain, and Vineet Sharma had been under the scanner and had been booked for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, and corruption.
The money laundering charge against the businessman was filed following alleged irregularities in the purchase of 12 luxury helicopters from Agusta Westland for VVIPs in 2007 under the Congress-led government. 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.
(With ANI inputs)