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17 Nov 2019, 03:27 HRS IST
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  • Chopper deal: Ratul Puri moves HC seeking anticipatory bail

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15:48 HRS IST

(Eds: Adding background)



New Delhi, Aug 13 (PTI)
Businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, on Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail in connection with a money laundering case related to the VVIP chopper scam.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar agreed to list the matter for hearing post lunch.

Puri is an accused in a money laundering case related to the now scrapped Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal.

Advocate Vijay Aggarwal mentioned before the bench the matter in which he has challenged the August 6 order of the trial court dismissing Puri's anticipatory bail plea.

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 Enforcement Directorate, Puri has not been joining 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.

The ED had 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.

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