A Delhi court on Tuesday sent businessman Ratul Puri to judicial custody for 14 days in connection with Enforcement Directorate (ED)'s bank fraud case. Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, will be in Tihar Jail under judicial custody till September 17, Special CBI judge Sanjay Garg at Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court said. On August 30, Puri's custodial interrogation was extended by four days till September 3. ED sought his further custody, saying that "during probe, voluminous record of documents has been collected and due to paucity of time, they could not be confronted with them".
The agency had arrested Puri on August 20 in the money laundering case arising out of the bank loan fraud case. Puri was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after he appeared before the central probe agency in the chopper scam following a fresh criminal case against him and others, based on cognisance of a CBI FIR.
Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court sends businessman Ratul Puri to 14 days judicial custody till 17th September in a bank fraud case. (File pic) pic.twitter.com/d8uaVhrZSV— ANI (@ANI) September 3, 2019
The latest PMLA case emerged from a CBI FIR of August 17, where Ratul Puri, his father Deepak Puri, mother Nita (Nath's sister) and others were booked in connection with a Rs 354 crore bank fraud case filed by the Central Bank of India. The CBI had carried out multiple searches in pursuance of this FIR.
The Puri family, other individuals like Sanjay Jain and Vineet Sharma were booked by the CBI for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption. Puri was booked in this case in his capacity as executive director of Moser Baer India Limited (MBIL), a firm promoted by his father Deepak Puri.
The company is manufactured optical storage media like compact discs, DVDs, solid state storage devices. Ratul Puri had resigned from the post of executive director in 2012, while his parents continue to be on the board, the bank had said in a statement and compliant to the CBI.
Moser Baer had been taking loans from various banks since 2009 and went for debt restructuring a number of times, the bank alleged in the complaint which is now part of the CBI FIR. When it was unable to pay the debt, a forensic audit was done and the account was declared as "fraud" by the Central Bank of India on April 20, 2019, it had alleged. The bank had claimed that the company and its directors forged and fabricated documents to induce the Central Bank of India to release funds.
There is another money laundering case against Puri connected with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam in which the Delhi High Court had earlier dismissed his anticipatory bail plea, saying his custodial interrogation was "required for an effective investigation". The businessman is facing criminal investigation by three main central probe agencies, ED, CBI and the Income Tax department.
The tax department has attached a number of his alleged 'benami' assets in the recent past and has charged him with benefiting from the purported kickbacks generated in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP choppers deal case, cancelled by India in 2014 on charges of corruption.