Delhi court grants bail to Ratul Puri in AgustaWestland money laundering case

A Delhi court Monday granted bail to businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in AgustaWestland money laundering case.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar granted bail to Puri on a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh and two sureties of like amount.

Puri will however remain in jail as he was also arrested in another case — the one related to bank fraud.

In his bail plea, Puri had said that he was not required for further investigation and no purpose will be served by keeping him in custody.

The Enforcement Directorate had recently filed a supplementary Prosecution Complaint 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.

Bank fraud: Ratul Puri moves bail plea

A Delhi court on Friday sought response from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a bail application filed by businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in a money laundering case related to a bank loan fraud.

Special judge Arvind Kumar issued notice to the ED and directed it to file a reply by November 30.

The ED had last month filed a charge sheet against Puri and company Moser Baer before Special Judge Sanjay Garg and the court is scheduled to take up the matter later in the day.

The ED had arrested Puri on August 20. He is currently in judicial custody in the case.

Puri is also in judicial custody in another money laundering case related to AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.

In the chopper scam, the Delhi High Court had earlier dismissed Puri’s anticipatory bail plea, saying his custodial interrogation was “required for an effective investigation”.

Puri was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the bank fraud case after he appeared before the central probe agency here in the chopper scam.

The latest PMLA case, filed by the ED, emerged from a CBI FIR of August 17, where Ratul Puri, his father Deepak Puri, mother Nita (Nath’s sister) and others were booked in connection with a Rs 354 crore bank fraud case filed by the Central Bank of India.

The bank had claimed that the company and its directors forged and fabricated documents to induce the Central Bank of India to release funds.

The Puri family, other individuals like Sanjay Jain and Vineet Sharma were booked by the CBI for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption.

Ratul Puri was booked in this case in his capacity as executive director of Moser Baer India Limited (MBIL), a firm promoted by his father Deepak Puri.

The company manufactured optical storage media like compact discs, DVDs, solid state storage devices.

Ratul Puri is facing criminal investigation by three main central probe agencies, ED, CBI and the Income Tax department.

Court issues notice to ED on Ratul Puri’s bail plea.

A Delhi court has sought response from the Enforcement Directorate on the bail plea of Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in a money laundering case related to the VVIP chopper scam.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar issued notice to the ED and directed it to file a reply by November 22, when the court will next hear the matter.

Puri moved the bail plea through advocate Vijay Agarwal on Saturday, saying he was not required for further investigation and no purpose will be served by keeping him in custody.

The Enforcement Directorate recently filed a supplementary Prosecution Complaint against Ratul Puri and Jaspreet Ahuja in the ?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 ?423 crore being paid to secure the deal.

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.

Chopper deal: Ratul Puri moves HC seeking anticipatory bail

Businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, on Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail in connection with a money laundering case related to the VVIP chopper scam.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar agreed to list the matter for hearing post lunch.

Puri is an accused in a money laundering case related to the now scrapped Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal.

Advocate Vijay Aggarwal mentioned before the bench the matter in which he has challenged the August 6 order of the trial court dismissing Puri’s anticipatory bail plea.

The trial court had on August 9 issued non-bailable warrant against Puri on the plea by the Enforcement Directorate.

The high court had dismissed his petition seeking a direction to the trial court not to pronounce order on his anticipatory bail plea without hearing his other pending applications.

Hours later, the trial court dismissed his anticipatory bail plea, noting that the probe was at a crucial stage.

According to Enforcement Directorate, Puri has not been joining investigation since he was granted interim protection by court on July 27 on his application for anticipatory bail, which was later dismissed on August 6.

The ED had said he did not join the probe on July 29, 30, 31 and further on August 6 and 7, nor was he accessible on phone or at his residence and that his whereabouts were not known.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers from Italy-based Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland. The deal was scrapped by the NDA government in 2014 over the alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of payment of kickbacks for securing the deal.

According to the ED, Puri’s role surfaced after deportation of another AgustaWestland case accused Rajeev Saxena on January 31 from the UAE and the arrest of Sushen Mohan Gupta, an alleged defence agent.

It said the investigation showed his foreign entities received proceeds of crime directly from Interstellar Technologies Limited, an accused company, and he had received funds from both the chains of money laundering involved in the matter.

It said the probe has further revealed that the applicant, using shell companies in the name of others, accumulated proceeds of crime which have been parked and later laundered to reach the desired beneficiaries including the applicant amongst other.

As per ED, the proceeds of crime have been deposited in the accounts of different companies owned by the accused and he is a key link to unearth the modus operandi adopted by other accused persons and to determine last mile connectivity of the proceeds of crime in the case.

The agency also claimed that Puri has also received proceeds of crime from channel of another alleged middleman Christian Michel James.