Chopper scam: ED moves HC to cancel Ratul Puri’s bail in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday moved the Delhi High Court seeking cancellation of bail granted by a trial court to businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in the AgustaWestland money laundering case.

The plea by the ED was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar, which allowed it to be listed for hearing on Friday.

In its petition, filed through central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, the agency has sought setting aside of the bail granted to Puri on December 2 by a trial court.

The ED, in its plea, has claimed that the trial court has not appreciated all the documents put on record while granting relief to Puri.

While granting him the relief, the trial court had directed Puri, who was in the ED custody since September 4, not to “tamper with evidence” or “try to contact or influence the witnesses”.

In the present VVIP chopper scam case, Puri was named as an accused in the sixth chargesheet filed by the ED.

The trial court had noted that the “co-accused having similar or greater role than the role of present accused have already been enlarged on bail.”

According to the ED, the role of Puri was that his foreign entities received proceeds of crime directly from Interstellar Technologies Ltd, a co-accused in the case, and that he had received funds from both the chains of money laundering involved in the present matter.

The ED had filed the supplementary prosecution complaint (ED’s equivalent to a chargesheet) against Puri and Jaspreet Ahuja in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

In January 2014, India had scrapped a contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary, AgustaWestland, for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks worth Rs 423 crore being paid to secure the deal.

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