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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Kamal Nath’s nephew led a lavish life with banks’ money: ED

One of the clubs he frequented in the US is the Provocateur Night Club, the ED said, adding that Puri and his cousin Bakul Nath (Kamal Nath’s son) , were both frequent visitors and that Puri once spent an exorbitant amount in the course of a single night at the club.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2019 04:12 IST
Richa Banka and Neeraj Chauhan
Richa Banka and Neeraj Chauhan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Enforcement Directorate, in a charge sheet filed in a bank fraud case, has said that businessman Ratul Puri was living a lavish lifestyle with the banks’ money
The Enforcement Directorate, in a charge sheet filed in a bank fraud case, has said that businessman Ratul Puri was living a lavish lifestyle with the banks’ money(Mint)
         

The Enforcement Directorate, in a charge sheet filed in a bank fraud case, has said that businessman Ratul Puri, Congress leader and Madhya Pradesh chief minister’s Kamal Nath’s nephew, was living a lavish lifestyle with the banks’ money, which included holidays abroad, travelling in private jets and visiting night clubs.

One of the clubs he frequented in the US is the Provocateur Night Club, the ED said, adding that Puri and his cousin Bakul Nath (Kamal Nath’s son) , were both frequent visitors and that Puri once spent an exorbitant amount in the course of a single night at the club.To be sure, Bakul Nath is not named as an accused in the charge sheet. Those accused are Moser Baer India Ltd (Puri’s company) and Puri himself.

Kamal Nath and his other family members didn’t respond to calls and text messages from HT seeking comment.

Rajiv Saxena, who is also being investigated in the case of irregularities related to the purchase of AgustaWestland helicopters, according to ED, was involved in structuring transactions for Puri and also helped launder money.

“Saxena’s questioning has unearthed the structures involved, transactions undertaken and the email IDs created through which such instructions for transfer of crime were given,” the charge sheet read.

The agency also claimed in the charge sheet that Sushen Mohan Gupta, a representative of defence equipment companies, was “instrumental in layering of proceeds of crime for Puri’s foreign entity as well as provided accommodation entries to the accused in Indian entities”.

“The routing of funds has been effected for the purposes of investments in Indian companies and foreign ventures, creation of assets abroad, creating trusts for the beneficiaries who are family members, funding ventures in India being utilized as Tuition Assistance Programmes for dependants of public servants in lieu of favours in India, expanding business in foreign jurisdictions at the expense of businesses in India,” the charge sheet said.

Neither Gupta nor Saxena is named as an accused. Gupta is also being investigated in the AgustaWestland case. ED has alleged that Puri had been evasive during interrogation and disregarded lawful process. It claims Puri even tore the summons issued to him on August 19.

The charge sheet also said that the “accused had chosen to take shelter in the fact that the matter pertains to years ago and selective memory loss while still being in touch with the same individuals till recent time”.

“He knows the transactions fully well and if he had any intention to genuinely cooperate with the investigation given the time allowed, he could have easily answered the questions posted to him which he deliberately decided not to answer,” the charge sheet read. Vijay Aggarwal, counsel for Puri, said: “All these allegations are based on the statements of an approver, whose credibility ED itself has questioned. All this is inadmissible in law. All allegations pertain to a period post my client’s resignation from Moser Baer”.

His reference is to Saxena, who turned approver in the AgustaWestland case. However, in a separate development on Friday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) moved court seeking to revoke “approver” status from him in connection with the money laundering aspect of the AgustaWestland deal. Special judge Arvind Kumar issued notice to Saxena after the ED stated that Saxena withheld information and did not make complete disclosure during the probe. The ED also sought cancellation of the bail granted to Saxena in view of him becoming an approver. “Despite turning an approver, Saxena has been in touch with other persons who are involved in the case. Saxena has a mala fide intent to shield other accused persons and prevent a successful prosecution,” ED said.

It added that Saxena failed to join the investigation citing frivolous reasons after being called by it around 25 times. The court will hear the matter on October 21. Saxena, director at two Dubai-based firms, UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings, was one of the accused named by ED in the AgustaWestland case. Puri is also being investigated in the AgustaWestland case, over the money laundering aspects of the deal.

The AgustaWestland chopper case involves specifications of choppers being bought by the Indian Air Force to ferry VIPs being changed to suit AgustaWestland at the instance of middlemen. The deal was called off in 2014 and the order for the choppers scrapped.