AgustaWestland: Delhi HC dismisses ED plea against bail to Ratul Puri

AgustaWestland: Delhi HC dismisses ED plea against bail to Ratul Puri

The Delhi High Court today dismissed Enforcement Directorate's plea seeking cancellation of bail granted to Ratul Puri in AgustaWestland money laundering case.

A Single Judge Bench of Justice Suresh Kait said,

"It is settled that once bail granted should not be cancelled in a mechanical manner without considering any supervening circumstances which is not conducive to fair trial.. No doubt, the bail can be cancelled only in those discerning few cases where it is established that a person to whom the concession of bail has been granted is misusing the same. However, all those facts are missing in the present case."

Relying on Supreme Court's decision in Dolat Ram and others vs. State of Haryana, the Court noted that bail could be cancelled on the grounds of interference or attempt to interfere with the due course of administration of justice, evasion or attempt to evade the due course of justice or abuse of the concession granted to the accused in any manner.

The Court further observed that in the AgustaWestland case, the investigation had been going on for more than five years and out of 46 accused, 25 accused were in abroad.

While the investigation might continue for further substantial years, Puri had already undergone around 100 days in judicial custody and had also been interrogated substantially, it added.

It was also stated that Puri was not a flight risk as he had roots in the society and there was no apprehension of influencing the witnesses as their statements were already part of the judicial record.

In view of the above, the Court concluded that no ground was made out for interference with grant of bail.

Ratul Puri was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in September 2019 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.

The role of Ratul Puri in the AgustaWestland case has surfaced after the deportation of Rajiv Saxena and Sushen Mohan Gupta from Dubai in early 2019. As per the prosecution’s case, there was 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.

It is ED's claim 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.

Subsequently, ED had filed its supplementary chargesheet against Puri in the Agustawestland case.

Puri was granted bail by the Special CBI Judge on December 2, 2019.

ED was represented by ASG KM Nataraj with Standing Counsel Amit Mahajan.

Ratul represented by Senior Advocates Kapil Sibbal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Vikas Pahwa with Advocates Vijay Aggarwal, Mudit Jain, Ayush Jindal, Barkha Rastogi, Deepanshu Choithani, Vafee Haider, Varun Chopra, Sumer Bopari, Ansh Kukreja, Yugant Sharma, Hardik Sharma, Akshay Gadeock, Rudrashish Bhardwaj, Sahil Goyal.

Read the Judgement:

ED vs Ratul Puri.pdf
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