Chopper scam: Delhi court grants bail to Ratul Puri in money laundering case

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NEW DELHI, Dec 2 (AGENCIES): A Delhi court Monday granted bail to businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in the AgustaWestland money laundering case, while directing him not to “tamper with evidence” or “try to contact or influence the witnesses”.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar granted bail to Puri and directed him to join the probe as and when called by the investigating officer. Puri will however remain in jail as he was also arrested in another case — the one related to a bank fraud. In the present VVIP chopper scam case, Puri was named as an accused in the sixth charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate.

While granting bail to Puri, the court said, “For the contention of the counsel for ED that accused may influence the witnesses is concerned, it is noted that supplementary complaint has been filed and statement of witnesses…has already been recorded. Necessary conditions can be put in this regard and any such effort by accused may lead to cancellation of his bail.”

The court noted that the “co-accused having similar or greater role than the role of present accused have already been enlarged on bail. Some of the co-accused have not been arrested by ED, at all, and complaint and supplementary complaints have been filed against these accused persons without arrest”.

Puri was not an accused in the CBI case registered for predicate offences, it noted.

“The present case is based, mainly, on documentary evidence and banking transactions. The premises of the accused was searched and the documents have already been seized by ED. Supplementary complaint against accused has already been filed,” the court said.

In its 20-page order, the court noted that the investigation by the ED was still going on and the agency had yet to receive documents through Letters Rogatory.

“Some of the LRs have been sent to different countries on November 21, 2019. The investigation will take time to complete. The accused is in custody in this case since September 4, 2019,” it noted.

While rejecting ED’s argument that the accused will abscond if granted bail, the court noted that he had roots in society and he was residing in Delhi along with his family members. The judge granted him bail on a persona bond of Rs 5 lakh and two sureties of like amount, while directing him not to leave India without the permission of the court.

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