Chopper Deal: Delhi HC To Hear Ratul Puri's Anticipatory Bail Plea Tomorrow
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday listed for tomorrow the anticipatory bail plea of Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in connection with a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland chopper scam.
The matter came up before Justice Mukta Gupta who was informed by Puri's counsel that order has been reserved on his another petition by a coordinate bench of the high court and the anticipatory bail plea will be transferred to the same judge.
Justice Gupta transferred the anticipatory bail plea to the court of Justice Sunil Gaur and it would be heard on Wednesday.
Puri, through advocate Vijay Aggarwal, approached the high court challenging a trial court's order denying him anticipatory bail.
Puri, a businessman, is an accused in a money laundering case related to the now-scrapped Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal.
The trial court had on August 9 issued non-bailable warrant against Puri on the plea by the Enforcement Directorate.
The high court had dismissed his petition seeking a direction to the trial court not to pronounce order on his anticipatory bail plea without hearing his other pending applications.
Hours later, the trial court dismissed his anticipatory bail plea, noting that the probe was at a crucial stage.
According to ED, Puri has not been joining the investigation since he was granted interim protection by court on July 27 on his application for anticipatory bail, which was later dismissed on August 6.
ED said he did not join the probe on July 29, 30, 31 and further on August 6 and 7, nor was he accessible on phone or at his residence and that his whereabouts were not known.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers from Italy-based Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland. The deal was scrapped by the NDA government in 2014 over the alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of payment of kickbacks for securing the deal.
According to the ED, Puri's role surfaced after deportation of another AgustaWestland case accused Rajeev Saxena on January 31 from the UAE and the arrest of Sushen Mohan Gupta, an alleged defence agent.
It said the investigation showed his foreign entities received proceeds of crime directly from Interstellar Technologies Limited, an accused company, and he had received funds from both the chains of money laundering involved in the matter.
It said the probe has further revealed that the applicant, using shell companies in the name of others, accumulated proceeds of crime which have been parked and later laundered to reach the desired beneficiaries including the applicant amongst other.
As per ED, the proceeds of crime have been deposited in the accounts of different companies owned by the accused and he is a key link to unearth the modus operandi adopted by other accused persons and to determine last mile connectivity of the proceeds of crime in the case.
The agency also claimed that Puri has also received proceeds of crime from channel of another alleged middleman Christian Michel James.