A court in Delhi on Saturday granted interim protection from arrest till July 29 to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minster Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri in connection with a money laundering case related to AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam. However, the court directed him to join the probe at 5 pm Saturday at the Enforcement Directorate office after the agency made a request in this regard. The court will next hear the matter on Monday, July 29.
Puri said two BJP lawmakers joined the ruling Congress party in Madhya Pradesh a few days ago and now the ED wants to arrest him since his uncle is the Chief Minster of the state. Puri approached the court seeking anticipatory bail in the case.
Special judge Inderjeet Singh granted interim relief from arrest till July 29 to Puri, Nath’s nephew and the Chairman of Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd, after he approached the court, saying he was anticipating arrest in the case.
Puri said he was cooperating in the probe and there was no need of his arrest. Puri recently appeared before the ED for questioning in the case pertaining to the now scrapped Rs 3,600-crore chopper deal.
While seeking relief for Puri, senior advocate A M Singhvi told the court that his client was not running away. “You (ED) can take my passport. No evidence of obstruction of evidence. I (Puri) am appearing before the ED as and when called for. I appeared 22 times and suddenly you want to arrest me. I am a law-abiding citizen. While I was there yesterday, I got to know they have reached my home and harassing my family members,” the counsel told the court.
He also alleged political vendetta in the case. “Two BJP lawmakers joined Congress in Madhya Pradesh a few days ago. And suddenly you (ED) want to arrest Madhya Pradesh CM’s nephew. This shows clear political vendetta,” he told the court.
The ED sought time to argue on the matter and opposed the interim protection from arrest. Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, also appearing for Puri, however, said that the ED was opposing interim protection since it wants to arrest “my client as soon as I go out”.