A court in Delhi on Friday reserved the order for August 6 on the anticipatory bail plea of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri, PTI reported. This is in connection with money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter scam. Puri, who is the chairperson of Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd, is accused of receiving money transacted during the scam.
Special Judge Arvind Kumar extended the interim protection from arrest to Puri till August 6.
The court witnessed dramatic scenes during the hearing. A man who claimed to be a witness appeared before the court and said that the Enforcement Directorate had recorded his statement forcefully. He urged the court to intervene in the matter.
The court will take up the man’s application on Saturday.
The development came a day after the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday told the court that a witness in the AgustaWestland case who they had claimed might be dead was in fact alive. The agency’s lawyer had said “a little birdie” had told investigators that KK Khosla would be available for questioning in a day or two. The probe agency had told the court on Tuesday that Khosla had been missing for four months and “must have been killed”.
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.
On Tuesday, the directorate had pointed out to the court that Puri had given investigators the slip after asking for a washroom break last week. 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.
The defence counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi had 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.