‘A little birdie tells us…’: ED takes sharp U-turn on Ratul Puri in Delhi Court
The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday changed the status of a witness in the AgustaWestland deal case from dead to alive, telling a court in national capital Delhi that “a little birdie” had told them the witness KK Khosla might be available to face questioning in a day or two.
The statement by the federal agency’s lawyer DP Singh comes just 24 hours after he made the stunning claim in court that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri may have killed KK Khosla, a witness in the case relating to the Rs 3,600 crore chopper deal.
“The man (Ratul Puri) is so influential that he is not only at flight risk, but we fear that one witness might have been killed,” DP Singh told a Delhi court on Tuesday. It was a reference to Khosla, a chartered accountant who had allegedly been missing for months.
On Wednesday, DP Singh skipped this part.
“A little birdie tells us that we might have Khosla (witness) today or tomorrow somewhere,” the lawyer said.
He added: “KK Khosla being the CA, used to maintain in common parlance called kachi entries. Those entries are corroborated by other people... We continue to make enquiries about KK Khosla, hope that he is somewhere and will assist.”
DP Singh also asked the court, which had yesterday extended interim protection from arrest to Ratul Puri, to direct him to join the investigation.
The court, however, declined ED’s plea. Special Judge Arvind Kumar said he couldn’t “pass any such direction till the disposal of application. It is between the ED and the accused”.
The court also did not make any observation about ED’s revelation or the u-turn regarding the ‘missing witness’ KK Khosla, who had recorded his statement before income tax authorities four months ago.
ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation are probing allegations of corruption and money laundering in a contract for the purchase of 12 luxury VVIP helicopters for use by top leaders, including the President, Prime Minister and former Prime Ministers. The deal was cancelled on January 1, 2014 over the allegations of wrongdoing.
Ratul Puri’s counsel senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who had dismissed the ED attempt point fingers at his client, had expressed surprise that the federal agency had come to level allegations of murder “on supposition”. Singhvi insisted that the ED probe against Ratul Puri was grounded in politics and he was targeted because he “happened to be related to someone in Madhya Pradesh”.
Puri’s company, Hindustan Power Project Private Ltd, too had released a statement on Tuesday evening denying ED’s allegations.