The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday arrested businessman Ratul Puri, who is the nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, two days after the Central Bureau of Investigation booked him and four executives of electronics company Moser Baer in connection with an alleged case of bank fraud worth Rs 354 crore, NDTV reported. On Monday, the CBI had conducted searches at six locations.
Puri was the director of the now-defunct company till 2012. Among the officials the agency booked are its Managing Director Deepak Puri and directors Nita Puri, Sanjay Jain and Vineet Sharma. Deepak and Nita Puri are Ratul Puri’s parents. They are accused of cheating Central Bank of India. The charges against them include criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption, according to Hindustan Times.
Moser Baer said the arrest was “unfortunate”, ANI reported. In a statement, the company said: “Moser Baer had operated in accordance with all legal compliances and this case now, when Moser Baer is in National Company Law Tribunal, is motivated.”
The company was involved in the manufacture of digital data storage media like compact discs, DVDs, solid state storage devices. “The MBIL has committed fraud and cheated the complainant bank thereby making a wrongful gain to themselves and a wrongful loss to the lender bank which is a custodian of public money,” the Central Bank of India’s complaint said.
The agency wanted to interrogate Ratul Puri while in custody as he has allegedly been non-cooperative in this case, PTI reported. He will be produced before a special court in Delhi on Tuesday.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath called his nephew’s arrest “purely mala fide”. He, however, added he has no connection with the business. “To me, it appears to be a purely mala fide action,” Nath told ANI. “I have full faith that courts will take corrective stand in this.”
Puri is also a suspect in a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland helicopter scam. He has been questioned several times in the past few months by investigating agencies for alleged tax evasion.
Puri has sought anticipatory bail. Last week, the Delhi High Court granted him interim protection from arrest till August 20.
The Enforcement Directorate has opposed his bail plea. On Monday, the Enforcement Directorate told special judge Arvind Kumar that the businessman was evading investigators and not turning up for questioning. Puri’s counsel Vijay Aggarwal accused the directorate of being unfair to him, and urged the court to cancel the non-bailable against his client.
“He is willing to join the probe with the ED, but the ED has emailed him today [Monday] at 11.55 am and called him at 1 pm,” Aggarwal alleged. “This is unfair. How can a person join investigation at such a short notice?”
The court will pass its order on Puri’s application on August 21.
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