Ratul Puri moves court seeking relaxation in AgustaWestland probe
Madhya Pradesh Chief Mnister Kamal Nath's nephew and industrialist Ratul Puri has knocked the doors of a Delhi court seeking the cancellation of a non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against him in connection with a money laundering case related to the now scrapped Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal..
The plea was filed through Advocate Vijay Aggarwal before Special CBI judge Arvind Kumar and is likely to come up for hearing on Saturday.
In his plea, Puri stated that he had sent an e-mail to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) expressing his willingness to join the probe.
"I am willing to join the investigation on August 15, 2019 at 11 a.m. onwards and also thereafter as per your directions," Puri said in the e-mail sent to the ED on August 14.
Puri has also stated in his plea that the Delhi High Court has directed that no coercive action be taken against him while it was hearing his plea challenging the trial court order dismissing his bail.
Puri also said that on July 26, he had personally appeared before the ED. However, when he went out for a lunch break, he got the information that the ED had informed a person known to him that it wanted to arrest Puri.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed that no coercive action be taken against Puri.
Justice Sunil Gaur had, however, granted liberty to the ED to join the investigation if required.
The court also asked the agency to state in the affidavit the subsequent developments in the case and the reasons as to why it needed custodial interrogation of Puri and the details and extent of his property that have been attached by the Income Tax Department.
The Delhi High Court will now hear the matter on August 20.
During the course of hearing then, Puri's counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi had argued, "I have given 107 pages of statements. I am a weekly visitor and I am happy to come every other day. You attach a company's property to me naming it as 'benami' and you are showing it to my roots."
Opposing the claims, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi said, "How are we responsible for what the Income Tax Department does? However, we will write about it in our reply. The matter is at a crucial stage and an interim bail should not be granted."
Reportedly, the Income Tax Department has recently attached a property belonging to Puri and his father Deepak Puri under Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988.
Puri on Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court challenging the trial court order dismissing his anticipatory bail plea.
Earlier on August 9, a non-bailable warrant was issued against Puri after the ED alleged that Puri was non-cooperative.
The same was issued after Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar allowed the application filed by the ED seeking issuance of a NBW against Puri.
Puri, who is being questioned in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, on July 26 sought a break from the investigating officer of the case, saying he needed to go to the washroom. But he slipped away, an agency official said.
After he did not return to join the investigation, the agency officials tried to call him on his mobile phone, but it was found switched off.
However, Puri has denied the allegations and said that he was granted a lunch break by the agency officials while being interrogated by them.
Puri is under the scanner of probe agencies for allegedly receiving kickbacks in the AgustaWestland deal through his companies.
The probe agency has alleged that accounts associated with the firms owned and operated by Puri were used to receive kickbacks and launder money for the AgustaWestland deal. IANS