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The Court of Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar today granted bail to Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri in the AgustaWestland money laundering case.
“..considering the overall facts and circumstances, the accused is admitted to bail on his furnishing personal nail bond in the sum of Rs 05 lakh and two sureties, each of the like amount..”, the Court said.
The Court noted that the supplementary complaint in the case had already been filed and statement of witnesses had also been recorded. It was further recorded that Puri had roots in society. The Court, thus, concluded that there was no scope of evidence tampering by Puri or him fleeing from the country.
The Court has nonetheless directed Puri to not tamper with evidence, influence witnesses or leave the country without the Court’s permission. The Court has also directed Puri to join the investigation as and when required.
Ratul Puri was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in September this year and was eventually remanded to judicial custody on completion of the ED custody. Puri was arrested after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the CBI Court, as well as the High Court on the ground that the investigation in the case with respect to his role was at a crucial stage.
In support of his bail plea, Puri had argued that his case fulfilled the triple test for the grant of bail. Contending that “bail is the rule and jail is an exception”, Puri had argued that no purpose would be achieved by his continued incarceration.
Puri had also argued that he was not connected or associated with any of the companies who allegedly facilitated money laundering in the VVIP chopper deal.
The ED, on the other hand, had argued against the grant of bail to Ratul Puri on the ground that investigation in the case of still ongoing. The Agency had contended that Puri had remained evasive and non-cooperative during the investigation. Given the status of Puri, the Agency also raised concerns of evidence tampering and witnesses being influencing.
The role of Ratul Puri in the AgustaWestland case surfaced after the deportation of Rajiv Saxena and Sushen Mohan Gupta from Dubai earlier this year. As per the prosecution’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.
ED has claimed that Puri is a key link to unearth the modus operandi adopted by all other accused persons to settle the proceeds of crime. It is alleged that Puri used the guise of shell companies to accumulate the proceeds of the crime, which were then parked and laundered to other desired beneficiaries.
ED had filed its supplementary chargesheet against Puri in the Agustawestland case earlier this year.
ED was represented by Speical Public Prosecutors DP Singh and NK Matta with Advocate Manu Mishra.
Ratul Puri was represented by Senior Advocates Siddharth Luthra, Vikas Pahwa with Advocates Vijay Aggarwal, Mudit Jain.
A few months ago, Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar dismissed the bail plea by British businessman and alleged middleman Christian Michel in connection with the same case.
Read the Order: