Businessman Ratul Puri being questioned by ED in VVIP chopper case
Businessman Ratul Puri is being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, a government official said on Thursday. The directorate had summoned Ratul Puri on the basis of interrogation of Sushen Mohan Gupta, an arrested middleman in the case whose custodial interrogation was extended by three more days yesterday.
Puri, the chairman of Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd, is the nephew of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath. ED’s special public prosecutors DP Singh and NK Matta yesterday told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that Gupta’s extended custody was required so that he could be confronted with various people, including Puri, in the case pertaining to the scrapped Rs 3,600 crore chopper deal.According to ED officials familiar with the matter, Puri’s name came up in a statement recorded by Dubai-based businessman Rajeev Saxena, who turned approver in the case after being deported from the United Arab Emirates. Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd in a statement categorically denied any connection with the AgustaWestland case. “Ratul Puri issues a categorical denial of having any connection or involvement of any kind in defence or AgustaWestland case,” it said. “He would be fully cooperating with the ED investigation and provide any clarification or information as may be required,” the company said.
The central anti-money laundering probe agency also made a reference to the initials “RG”, which, it said, finds mention in several pages of diaries as well as a pen drive recovered from Gupta. ED told the court that in diaries it linked with Gupta, cash entries worth Rs 52 crores have been founded listed against “RG” between 2004 and 2016.
The ED contended that Gupta is not being truthful about who “RG” is, and that its investigators are trying to establish the person’s identity. The ED also told the court that Saxena produced two diaries, some loose sheets of paper, other documents, and a pen drive that connected Gupta directly with the AgustaWestland case.