Interim protection to Kamal Nath's nephew in AgustaWestland money laundering case

ANI New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 27, 2019, 09.16 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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The court has also asked Puri to join the investigation at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office today.

A Delhi Court on Saturday granted interim protection to Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, from arrest till July 29 in connection with AgustaWestland money laundering case.

The court has also asked Puri to join the investigation at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office today.

Puri on Saturday moved a Delhi court and applied for an anticipatory bail in connection with the alleged scam relating to the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland amounting to Rs 3,600 crore.

This came after the ED summoned Puri earlier in the day for questioning in connection with the alleged scam, ED officials told ANI.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi and advocate Vijay Aggarwal appeared for Ratul Puri. Singhvi argued that ED is allegedly hampering Puri's reputation and business and termed it a "political vengeance".

"Friday some political event happened and on Saturday they want to arrest me as I am a blood relative of an opposition leader. What is this," pleaded Puri through his counsel Singhvi.

Ratul's lawyer also defended the 'absconding story'. "I (Ratul Puri) had written to them that I cannot appear before them as I am travelling. I still went there to show my bona fide. I go out to eat lunch or something and I learn that the ED has reached my house and harassing my family. ED has cooked up the harassment story."

Ratul's lawyer argued that if the ED doesn't want to arrest him, the why did ED land at his place at 8 pm. There is CCTV footage as proof.

Advocate Naveen Kumar Matta, the counsel of ED, opposed the anticipatory bail plea and sought the adjournment of the matter for Monday as bail copy didn't serve to them on time.

In December last year, businessman Christian Michel, an alleged middleman in the deal, was extradited to India from Dubai. He is at present lodged in Delhi's Tihar jail.

The deal with Italy-based Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for purchase of 12 VVIP choppers was scrapped by India on January 1, 2014, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of payment of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore for securing the deal.