Chopper scam: Court refuses to cancel NBW against Puri

Last Updated 21 August 2019, 14:07 IST

A Delhi court Wednesday refused to cancel a Non-Bailable Warrant (NBW) against Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland chopper scam.

Special judge Arvind Kumar dismissed Puri's application seeking cancellation of the NBW saying there was no ground to grant the relief.

Puri, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a separate case related to bank fraud, had approached the court saying there was no need for the NBW as he was willing to cooperate in the probe.

"I do not find any ground for cancellation of NBW issued against accused Ratul Puri. The application filed by accused Ratul Puri for cancellation of NBW issued against him is dismissed," the judge said.

The order noted that the accused had not joined the probe on different dates despite repeated notices of the ED.

"Accused had left the ED office on July 26 without signing his statement. He has made himself unavailable and his whereabouts could not be ascertained," the court observed.

It also noted from ED's submission that there was every likelihood that the accused may tamper with evidence and influence the witnesses.

Delhi High Court yesterday dismissed his plea seeking anticipatory bail in the same case.

The court had issued the NBW against Puri while noting the ED's submissions that the businessman might try to tamper with evidence and influence witnesses "as he already did earlier".

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 alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of payment of kickbacks for securing the deal.

According to the ED, the proceeds of the crime have been deposited in the accounts of different companies owned by Puri and he is a key link to unearth the modus operandi adopted by the other accused and to determine last-mile connectivity of the proceeds.

Puri is currently in ED custody in a separate money laundering case related to a bank loan fraud.

(Published 21 August 2019, 12:36 IST)

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