New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sought 14-day remand of businessman Ratul Puri in AgustaWestland money laundering case.
The development comes a day after Delhi’s Rouse Avenue court sent Puri, who is already in the agency’s custody in an alleged bank fraud case, to one-day judicial custody in connection with the chopper scam case. Earlier, he had filed a plea in the court seeking to surrender over the case.
Accused of receiving kickbacks, he has been questioned several times by investigating agencies for alleged tax evasion.
The name of 47-year-old Puri, who is a nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, came up on May 22 after the ED filed a chargesheet in which he was named. This was after Sushen Mohan Gupta, a defence agent who was arrested on March 26 for his alleged role in the scam, mentioned that Puri was his ‘friend’.
The AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam dates back to 2006, when UPA-1 under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in power and came to light during the penultimate year of the government’s second term, in 2013. It was alleged that money was paid to middlemen and Indian officials in 2006 and 2007 to purchase helicopters for VVIPs. Several prominent politicians, including senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, and military officials were accused of accepting bribes from AgustaWestland to win the Rs 36 billion contract.
On August 20, Ratul Puri was arrested by the ED over a complaint filed by the Central Bank of India accusing the now-defunct Moser Baer India Limited, a manufacturer of digital data storage devices, of defrauding it to the tune of Rs 354.51 crore. At the time of the alleged fraud, he was as an executive director of the company.