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Thursday 2 April 2020

VVIP choppers scam: Kamal Nath’s nephew gives slip to ED

The Rs 3,600-crore deal to buy AgustaWestland choppers for the people of VVIP status was scrapped over allegations of kickbacks

Editorials

In India

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New Delhi: Ratul Puri, the nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, is reported to have given a slip to ED investigators when he was summoned for questioning in connection with the VVIP choppers money laundering case here, officials said Saturday.

They said businessman Puri was to be confronted with some evidence during questioning at an Enforcement Directorate office here on Friday.

However, Puri sought some break time from the investigating officer of the case to go to the washroom but slipped away, officials alleged.

It is understood that agency officials then tried to call him over his mobile phone but it was off.

The agency is now mulling to summon him again for questioning, they said.

Puri, Chairman of Hindustan Power projects Pvt Ltd, has been grilled by the agency in this case in the past too.

He is the son of Nita and Deepak Puri, the CMD of optical storage media firm Moser Baer. Nita is Nath’s sister.

The roughly Rs 3,600-crore deal to purchase AgustaWestland choppers for the people of VVIP status was scrapped by India over allegations of corruption and kickbacks being paid in the deal.

The ED and the CBI are probing the case and have already filed multiple charge sheets in the case.

VVIP chopper scam: Other accused

Earlier, on 6 July, Rajiv Saxena, accused-turned-approver in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, had received the summons from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), asking him to join the probe further.

According to sources, Saxena was in the receipt of summons from the CBI and the ED, asking him to join the investigation next week.

The Supreme Court had in June stayed a Delhi High Court order allowing Saxena to travel abroad for medical treatment.

During the proceeding in the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the ED, had contended that certain new facts have surfaced against Saxena pertaining to the “violation of the information technology and black money laws”.

Other big names in VVIP chopper scam

On 5 April, it was learnt that in the charge sheet in the case of the alleged scam in AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had named the Indian National Congress’s Ahmed Patel and journalists Raju Santhanam, Manu Pubby and Shekhar Gupta.

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