The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday told a court in Delhi that a witness in the AgustaWestland case who they had claimed might be dead was in fact alive, Hindustan Times reported. The agency’s lawyer said “a little birdie” had told investigators that KK Khosla would be available for questioning in a day or two.
The directorate had told the court on Tuesday that Khosla had been missing for four months and “must have been killed”. It had made the comment while opposing the anticipatory bail of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri, who has been granted interim protection from arrest. Puri, who is the chairperson of Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd, is accused of receiving money transacted during the scam. The directorate’s lawyer DP Singh had said Puri was an influential person who posed a flight risk, and could tamper with evidence and influence witnesses. “One witness, we believe, must have been killed,” he had added. “We cannot reach him. His whole family is in shock. They are so scared that they have not filed an FIR.” Khosla, a chartered accountant, used to work for Puri.
On Wednesday, Singh said Khosla used to maintain what is called “kachi entries” in common parlance. These entries reportedly mention the bribery amounts and the people who received them. “Those entries are corroborated by other people,” he added. “We continue to make enquiries about KK Khosla, hope that he is somewhere and will assist.” After hearing the agency, the court asked the witness to be present in court on Thursday, when defence counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi is expected to present his argument, reported NDTV.
On Tuesday, the directorate had pointed out to the court that on Friday Puri had given investigators the slip after asking for a washroom break. Officials tried to contact him on his mobile phone but it was switched off. However, the judge observed that Puri was cooperating in the investigation.
Singhvi alleged his client was a victim of political vendetta, and claimed that the directorate wanted to arrest his client as two Bharatiya Janata Party lawmakers had joined the ruling Congress in the state a few days ago.
The former Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had signed the Rs 3,565-crore helicopter deal in 2010 with the British-Italian firm AgustaWestland. The deal was put on hold after Italy arrested the head of Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland’s parent company, on charges of paying bribes to win the contract. Christian Michel was extradited to India in January and is now lodged in Tihar Jail.