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The Court of Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar yesterday reserved its order in the bail plea preferred by Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri in connection with the AgustaWestland money laundering case.
The order would be pronounced on December 2.
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 has argued that his case fulfills the triple test for the grant of bail. Contending that “bail is the rule and jail is an exception”, Puri has argued that no purpose would be achieved by his continued incarceration.
Puri has also argued that he is 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, has argued against the grant of bail to Ratul Puri on the ground that investigation in the case of still ongoing. The Agency has contended that Puri has 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 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.