Businessman Ratul Puri (File Photo)
A Delhi Court on Monday extended businessman Ratul Puri's Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody by three days in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam case. Special Judge Arvind Kumar passed the order, noting that the probe agency has sought Puri's custody for three more days to confront him with "incriminating documents" recovered during the recent searches in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore money laundering case. Last week, Puri, the nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, was sent to five-day ED custody, which is slated to expire today.
Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) DP Singh and advocate Naveen Kumar Matta, who is representing the ED, told Kumar that during its recent search between September 7 and September 14, some "incriminating documents" were recovered from Puri's office, giving them a crucial lead in the case. Therefore, the law enforcement agency sought his further custody, asserting that certain people and documents linked to the case need to be confronted with Puri.
Delhi: Special Court extends businessman Ratul Puri's custody by three days in AgustaWestland money laundering case. https://t.co/EcjuwkZEYA— ANI (@ANI) September 16, 2019
Opposing the submission, Puri's counsel advocate Vijay Aggarwal said his client has already spent many days in the ED custody and no further questioning should be required. Though court turned down Aggarwal's submission, it allowed Puri to meet his mother Neeta Puri today.
Earlier, the Delhi High Court dismissed Puri's anticipatory bail plea, saying his custodial interrogation was "required for an effective investigation".
The money laundering case pertains to the alleged irregularities in purchase of 12 VVIP choppers from Italy-based Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary, AgustaWestland. Puri is charged for benefiting himself from the purported kickbacks generated in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP choppers deal case, cancelled by India in 2014 on charges of corruption.
Puri was earlier arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the bank fraud case after he appeared before the central probe agency in the chopper scam following a fresh criminal case against him and others, taking cognisance of a CBI FIR.
The latest PMLA case emerged from a CBI FIR of August 17, where Ratul Puri, his father Deepak Puri, mother Neeta (Nath's sister) and others were booked in connection with a Rs 354 crore bank fraud case filed by the Central Bank of India.