ED to respond on Ratul Puri’s anticipatory bail by Aug 20

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Enforcement Directorate over a plea filed by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri challenging the trial court’s opposition to his anticipatory bail.

Justice Sunil Gaur asked the agency to file a response supported with a short affidavit.

The court asked the agency to state about the developments in the case, reasons why it needed custodial interrogation of Puri and the details and extent of the property attached by the Income Tax Department.

The court will now hear the matter on August 20.

During the hearing, Puri’s counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued: “I have given 107 pages of statements… You attach a company’s property naming it as Benami and you are showing it to my roots.”

Opposing this, Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi said: “What the Income Tax Department does, how are we responsible for that? However, we will write about it in our reply. The matter is at a crucial stage and interim custody should not be granted.”

Reportedly, the Income Tax Department has attached a property belonging to Puri and his father Deepak Puri under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988.

Puri on Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court challenging the trial court order dismissing his anticipatory bail to him in a money laundering case relating to the AgustaWestland case.

On August 9, a non-bailable warrant was issued against Puri after the ED alleged that Puri was non-cooperative.

Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar allowed the application filed by the Enforcement Directorate seeking issuance of the non-bailable warrant against Puri.

ED’s counsel Special Public Prosecutor D.P. Singh told the court earlier that Puri was evasive.

“He is evasive, there is flight risk and we have evidence that he is tampering with evidence and is influencing the witness,” he added.

The court had last week dismissed the anticipatory bail plea filed by Puri.

Puri, who has been questioned in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, on July 26 sought a break from the investigating officer, saying he needed to go to the washroom. But he slipped away, an agency official said.

Puri denied the allegation and said he was granted a lunch break during interrogation.

Ratul Puri is under the scanner of probe agencies for allegedly receiving kickbacks in AgustaWestland deal through his companies.