Quizzed by ED in VVIP chopper case, Kamal Nath kin Ratul Puri says no role
Businessman Ratul Puri is being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, a government official said on Thursday. Puri was summoned by the ED in a money laundering case as part of the AgustaWestland probe.
Puri has, however, denied any wrongdoing on his part related to the AgustaWestland chopper case. “I am cooperating with the investigation. I have no connection with AgustaWestland or defence. I run an independent business. I have no business dealings with any relative of mine,” Puri was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The ED summoned Puri as follow up of the leads emerging from the questioning of Sushen Mohan Gupta, a middleman arrested in the AgustaWestland case. His custody was extended by three more days by a Delhi court.
The special public prosecutors DP Singh and NK Matta told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that Gupta’s extended custody was required to confront him with others, including Puri in the scrapped Rs 3,600 crore chopper deal.
According to ED officials familiar with the matter, Puri’s name cropped 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.
Puri, the chairman of Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd, is the nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd issued a statement saying, “Ratul Puri issues a categorical denial of having any connection or involvement of any kind in defence or AgustaWestland case.”
“He would be fully cooperating with the ED investigation and provide any clarification or information as may be required,” the company said.
The AgustaWestland deal, cleared by the previous UPA government in 2010, was done for the purchase of choppers for the transport of VVIPs. Three years later, the UPA government scrapped the deal over allegations of corruption and kick backs being paid in the deal.
The ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are probing the case. The two central agencies have already filed multiple charge-sheets in the case.