Hours after Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath's nephew Ratul Puri was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Rs 354-crore bank fraud case, the Delhi High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea in a money-laundering probe related to the AgustaWestland bribery scam.
"...the arrest by ED is unfortunate. Moser Baer had operated in accordance to all legal compliances and this case now, when Moser Baer is in NCLT, is motivated," says Ratul Puri in a statement after his arrest.
Puri, who is the nephew of MP chief minister Kamal Nath, has been under probe for alleged money laundering in Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland Chopper deal. He had applied for anticipatory bail after a court issued a non-bailable warrant against him on August 9 on a plea submitted by the ED which claimed that the businessman might try to tamper with evidence and influence witnesses "as he already did earlier".
The order was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Sunil Gaur, who heard the arguments of the counsels for ED and Puri earlier in the day. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Puri, argued that he was cooperating in the investigation and legal malice and vendetta was writ large in the agency's conduct. Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, representing ED, opposed Puri's anticipatory bail plea so as to enable it to interrogate him in custody.
Ratul Puri's name surfaced in the AgustaWestland case after the deportation of Dubai businessman Rajeev Saxena, who turned approver and disclosed the alleged 'modus operandi' behind the transfer of Euro 30 million worth of bribes from AgustaWestland to arms middleman Christian Michela and then to Indian IAF officials, bureaucrats and politicians via a complex network of companies and intermediaries such as Saxena, his lawyer Gautam Khaitan, Puri and others.
Earlier today, the ED arrested Ratul Puri in connection with a Rs 354 crore bank fraud case 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.
Meanwhile, 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.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar