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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

ED removes probe officer in AgustaWestland chopper case

india Updated: Sep 19, 2019 06:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday removed its investigating officer (IO) in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, more a month after businessman Ratul Puri had slipped away from the agency’s headquarters during questioning on the pretext of going to the washroom, a senior official familiar with the development said.

A second official said on the condition of anonymity that the AgustaWestland case officer had been issued a show-cause notice after Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, managed to dodge the officer and left the ED office on July 26.

The incident was followed by Puri applying for an anticipatory bail application, the very next day. In the show-cause notice, the case officer was asked to explain how the lapse happened.

Later, Puri was arrested in August in connection with an alleged Rs 354-crore bank fraud.

The first official said the case officer has been removed as the incident led to serious delay in the probe. A new IO has been appointed in the case, he added.

On September 4, Puri was arrested in a money laundering linked to VVIP chopper deal case by the ED. The ~3,600-crore deal to purchase AgustaWestland choppers for the VVIPs was scrapped by India over allegations of corruption and kickbacks being paid in the deal. The ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are probing the case, and have already filed multiple charge-sheets.