Chopper scam: Delhi court allows ED to interrogate Ratul Puri in Tihar

A Delhi court has allowed the Enforcement Directorate to interrogate Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri in Tihar jail where he is lodged in connection with the VVIP chopper scam case.

Special judge Arvind Kumar allowed the agency to visit Tihar jail on October 22 and 23 to interrogate Puri and confront him with some documents as some facts have come up during investigation into the scam-related money laundering case.

The court passed the order after the agency submitted that “during investigation certain aspects of the case have recently been unearthed and it is very necessary to further interrogate the accused Ratul Puri and to record his statement… while confronting him with documents/concerned person”.

“Considering the facts and circumstances, the ED officials namely Yogeshwar Sharma, Deputy Director, Gaurav Kumar Jain, Assistant Director, and Karun Bansal, AEO, are permitted to visit Tihar Jail on October 22 and 23 from 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm to interrogate accused Ratul Puri.

“However, the aforesaid interrogation shall be conducted by ED officials in presence of jail superintendent or any jail official authorised by him,” the judge said.

It also allowed ED’s request to keep the application in a sealed cover and not to supply it to the accused after the agency said “it contains the name of the person who is to be confronted with Puri and if, at this stage, his name is disclosed, there is likelihood that witness may be approached, which would frustrate the very purpose of interrogation.”

Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Puri, submitted that the accused has no objection to the interrogation by the ED and that he shall cooperate during investigation, if any.

However, the counsel requested the court to provide him the copy of the application filed by the ED and to issue his production warrants, “so that counsel for accused could seek instructions from him on the application”.

“Since the name of person who is to be confronted with the accused is disclosed in the application, I do not consider it fit to pass direction to the ED to provide copy of the application to the accused as it may cause hindrance in the investigation,” the court said.

It said that no prejudice was going to be caused to the accused because of non-supply of the application.

The court also permitted two counsel for the accused to provide him legal assistance for half an hour daily.

“The jail superintendent shall allow the person whose name is mentioned in the enclosed sealed envelope, to accompany with the aforesaid ED officials. The jail authorities shall make necessary arrangements in this regard,” the court said.

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