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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

ED files charge sheet against Kamal Nath’s nephew in fraud case

While probing an alleged fraud at Central Bank of India worth Rs 354 crore, ED came across documents of dealings between Puri’s firm Moser Baer India Ltd (MBIL) and several other banks.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2019 01:59 IST
Neeraj Chauhan and Richa Banka
Neeraj Chauhan and Richa Banka
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday filed a charge sheet in a Delhi court against Ratul Puri.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday filed a charge sheet in a Delhi court against Ratul Puri.
         

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday filed a charge sheet in a Delhi court against Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, alleging that he was involved in bank frauds amounting to Rs 7,900 crore, according to people familiar with the matter.

The people cited above said that the central agency, while probing an alleged fraud at Central Bank of India worth Rs 354 crore, came across documents of dealings between Puri’s firm Moser Baer India Ltd (MBIL) and several other banks.

“ED has informed the court that it is approaching several countries through judicial requests for further details. It appears that the total amount under review could be several times higher that the initial probe, going up to Rs 7,900 crore,” an official from the agency said on condition of anonymity.

The names of the other banks could not be immediately ascertained.

In September, ED told the court it found transfers worth over Rs 2,000 crore in the Moser Baer case that required further investigation. ED began its money-laundering probe on August 19, two days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed an FIR against Puri, his parents Deepak and Nita Puri, and MBIL, in a cheating case on a complaint by Central Bank. Puri’s parents have not been named in the ED charge sheet.

When contacted, Puri’s counsel, advocate Vijay Aggarwal declined to confirm or deny the details of the charge sheet. “We have received the prosecution complaint (charge sheet) and yet to go through it. However, there cannot be any case against my client as he had resigned from MBIL much before this alleged offence took place.”

ED has said that the alleged Central Bank fraud under probe dates back to 2014. Puri, who denied any wrongdoing, has maintained that he resigned from MBIL in 2012, and is not aware of any transactions made by the firm after that.

A second ED official said that the charge sheet had statements from 47 witnesses and included 83 relied upon documents (RUDs), which are papers found during raids or collected during the course of investigation.

Special CBI judge Sanjay Garg took cognisance of ED’s prosecution complaint and posted the matter for November 25 for the scrutiny of documents.

ED arrested Puri on August 19, and he is currently in judicial custody. Puri, 47, is also under investigation for alleged involvement in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.

In its FIR registered on August 17, CBI alleged that the Central Bank of India accused MBIL and its directors of defrauding the bank of over Rs 350 crore. The complaint said that MBIL was taking loans from various banks since 2009, and went for debt restructuring number of times. “When it was unable to pay the debt, a forensic audit was done and the account was declared as fraud by the Central Bank of India in April 2019,” the CBI FIR stated.

The bank alleged that the company and its directors forged and fabricated documents to induce Central Bank of India to release funds. “MBIL has cause unlawful loss to our bank to the tune of Rs 354.51 crore as on November 29, 2014 and interest thereon by getting unlawful gains,” the CBI FIR added.