No coercive action against Ratul Puri: Delhi HC (Lead)
Wednesday - August 14, 2019 6:00 pm , Category : INDIA
New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed that no coercive action be taken against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's nephew Ratul Puri in a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland deal.Justice Sunil Gaur, however, granted liberty to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to join the investigation if required.The court also sought a response from the ED over a plea filed by Puri challenging the trial court's opposition to his anticipatory bail.Justice Gaur asked the agency to file a response with a short affidavit.The court asked the agency to state the developments in the case, reasons why it needed custodial interrogation of Puri and the details and extent of the property attached by the Income Tax Department.The matter will now be heard on August 20.During the hearing, Puri's counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued: "I have given 107 pages of statements... You attach a company's property naming it as Benami and you are showing it to my roots."Opposing this, Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi said: "What the Income Tax Department does, how are we responsible for that? However, we will write about it in our reply. The matter is at a crucial stage and interim custody should not be granted."Reportedly, the Income Tax Department has attached a property belonging to Puri and his father Deepak Puri under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988.Ratul Puri on Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court challenging the trial court order dismissing his anticipatory bail to him in a money laundering case relating to the AgustaWestland case.On August 9, a non-bailable warrant was issued against him after the ED alleged that Puri was non-cooperative.Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar allowed the application filed by the ED seeking the non-bailable warrant against Puri.ED counsel Special Public Prosecutor D.P. Singh told the court earlier that Puri was evasive.The court last week dismissed the anticipatory bail plea filed by Puri.Puri, who has been questioned in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, on July 26 sought a break from the investigating officer, saying he needed to go to the washroom. But he slipped away, an agency official said.Puri denied the allegation and said he was granted a lunch break.Ratul Puri is under the scanner of probe agencies for allegedly receiving kickbacks in AgustaWestland deal through his companies.