RATUL Puri, the businessman nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, skipped his appearance before the ED on Tuesday even as his anticipatory bail plea in the VVIP choppers money-laundering case was rejected by a Delhi court. Officials said Puri was asked to depose before the investigating officer (IO) of the case but he did not join.
It was not immediately known if the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had given him a fresh date to appear and if Puri had filed a reason for his absence before the agency. The Central agency wants to grill Puri in light of certain pieces of evidence gathered in the case and statements of other accused, including Dubai-based operator Rajeev Saxena. Saxena was deported to India in January and he is in custody at present. Earlier in the day, a court here dismissed Puri’s anticipatory bail plea in the money-laundering case related to the alleged VVIP choppers or the AgustaWestland choppers scam, noting that the investigation was at a crucial stage. The court directive has now paved the way for the ED to arrest him.
Special judge Arvind Kumar also junked two separate applications filed by Puri seeking a copy of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) and a statement recorded under section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). An ECIR is the ED equivalent of a police FIR. Puri, chairman of Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd, had approached the court on July 27 seeking anticipatory bail in the case, saying he feared arrest. On the same day, he appeared before the agency for questioning, but slipped out after some time. The case pertains to the now scrapped Rs 3,600-crore chopper deal with AgustaWestland.