The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Ratul Puri, MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath's nephew, in connection with a Rs 354 crore bank fraud case. The ED arrested Puri, the former executive director of Moser Baer, after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last week filed an FIR against him, his father and Moser Baer Managing Director Deepak Puri, Directors Nita Puri (Ratul's mother and Kamal Nath's sister), Sanjay Jain, Vineet Sharma and others for defrauding the Central Bank of India for Rs 354.51 crore. They were all booked for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption after a complaint from Central Bank of India.
Ratul Puri's office has termed the arrest "unfortunate". "Moser Baer had operated in accordance to all legal compliances and this case now, when Moser Baer is in the NCLT, is motivated," the company said in a statement.
Ratul had resigned from the post of executive director in 2012, while his parents continue to be on the company board. The CBI had last week carried out searches at six locations, including the residences and offices of the accused directors. The company is involved in the manufacture of optical storage media like compact discs, DVDs, solid-state storage devices. The company was taking loans from various banks since 2009 and went for debt restructuring many times, the Central Bank of India had alleged in its complaint to the CBI.
When it was unable to pay the debt, a forensic audit was done and the account was declared as "fraud" by the Central Bank of India on April 20, 2019. "The MBIL has committed fraud and cheated the complainant bank thereby making a wrongful gain to themselves and a wrongful loss to the lender bank which is a custodian of public money," the CBI complaint had said.
The CBI FIR said Moser Baer directors "misused and misappropriated" funds given by the bank for their personal use. It said MBIL and its directors and promoters had also committed fraud in respect of reporting book debts, which were also one of the primary securities of the bank. The bank claimed that the company and its directors forged and fabricated documents to induce Central Bank of India to release funds.
Besides, the ED could also grill Puri in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland Chopper deal. Puri had earlier denied any wrongdoing on his part in the AgustaWestland case. His name appeared in a statement by middleman Rajeev Saxena, who has turned approver in the case.
Meanwhie, Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath has said that he had no connection with the business they (Rahul Puri and others) were doing. "To me, it appears to be a purely mala fide action. I have full faith that courts will take corrective stand in this," he added.
Manoj Sharma with agency inputs