The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) earlier today in connection with a Rs 354-crore bank fraud case.
Justice Sunil Gaur modified his August 14 order by which he had asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) not to take any “coercive steps” till today against Puri, who apprehends arrest for allegedly receiving kickbacks in the AgustaWestland deal case through his companies.
“The application is dismissed,” the court said, adding that “this court is of the prima facie opinion that custodial interrogation of petitioner is required for an effective investigation.”
The court further observed “granting of pre – arrest bail would stall effective investigation in the case”.
Puri had moved the high court after his application for anticipatory bail was dismissed by the Special Court on August 6.
Subsequently, the special court on August 9 issued non-bailable warrant against Puri after the ED moved the court, alleging that he did not join the probe nor was he accessible on phone or at his residence and that his whereabouts were not known.
Puri’s counsel had argued that “parameters governing grant of pre-arrest bail are of abscondance, tampering with the evidence and non-cooperation, which are ex-facie not attracted to the instant case”.
The criminal role of Puri in the entire case surfaced after arrest of Dubai-based businessman Rajiv Saxena and alleged defence agent Sushen Mohan Gupta Sushen Mohan Gupta.
As per the ED’s case, there is incriminating evidence against Puri, including the diary of Sushen Mohan Gupta and email recovered from Rajiv Saxena, which showed that Puri was in receipt of the proceeds of the crime in the AgustaWestland deal.
However, Puri’s counsel had contended that complaint (charge sheet) filed in November 2014, doe not contains petitioner’s name.
“Even in the four supplementary complaints filed in the year 2016 to 2019, name of the petitioner does nor figure. It is only in the fifth supplementary complaint filed in May 2019, name of Ratul Puri finds mention,” Puri’s counsel had submitted.
He had further argued that declining pre-arrest bail to his client is based on the statement of co-accused Rajiv Saxena, who was made approver and later on an application was filed by the ED for cancellation of his bail, while labeling him as unreliable witness.
There are around 42 individuals and firms, who have been made accused in the case by the ED and the CBI.