New Delhi: Ratul Puri, the nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, on Saturday told a Delhi court that he was willing to join the probe into the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter scam case while seeking cancellation of a non-bailable warrant issued against him.
Puri told special judge Arvind Kumar that he wrote some e-mails to the Enforcement Directorate expressing his desire to join the investigation but the agency did not respond.”You issued NBW against him (Puri) because he was not joining the investigation. But now ED is not calling him to join the investigation. We need court’s directions to stay the NBW,” Puri’s advocate Vijay Aggarwal told the court.
The court was also informed by Puri that he has got interim protection from arrested in the case by the Delhi High Court. However, the ED opposed the application saying its sole purpose was to create confusion. “We are opposing the stay on NBW. This is just to create confusion by filing multiple applications. Ratul Puri e-mailed on 15 August to join the probe. Now we will take our call… We called him regularly to join the investigation but he did not come,” the agency said.
The court has fixed 19 August as the next date for hearing further arguments on the application. The ED said that it will file a detailed reply to the application on the next date of hearing. The court had earlier issued NBW against Puri while noting the ED’s submissions that the businessman might try to tamper with evidence and influence the witnesses “as he already did earlier”.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopter 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.