CBI books Ratul Puri in fresh loan fraud case, carries out searches at multiple locations

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Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Updated: June 26, 2020 3:54:42 pm

ratul puri, kamal nath nephew, augusta westland chopper deal, augusta westland chopper scam, vvip chopper deal, vvip chopper scam investigation, indian express Former MP CM Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri. (File photo)

The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri in a fresh case of alleged loan fraud. Puri is already facing probes in a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam and bank loan fraud. A CBI team on Friday conducted searches at multiple premises associated with Puri, his father Deepak Puri and their company Moser Baer Solar Ltd (MBSL).

Puri has been booked based on a complaint from the Punjab National Bank (PNB), which has alleged fraud of over Rs 787 crore by Moser Baer Solar Ltd (MBSL). Last year, Puri had been booked and arrested in connection with the VVIP chopper scam case and Rs 354 crore bank fraud case filed by the Central Bank of India. He is currently out on bail.

“CBI is today conducting searches at Delhi, Noida at the premises of accused including Directors Sh.Dipak Puri, Sh.Ratul Puri, M/s.Moser Baer Solar Ltd(MBSL), & others in a case releated to alleged loss of Rs. 787.25 Crore (Approx) to Punjab National Bank and other consortium of banks. A case was registered on a complaint from Punjab National Bank against M/s Moser Baer Solar Ltd.(Borrower company) and others including its Directors and other unknown persons & unknown Bank Officials,” CBI said in a statement.

In August last year, Puri had been booked for a loan fraud and subsequently first arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a dramatic fashion. Facing probe in the AgustaWestland case, Puri had been called for questioning by the ED in July last year. However after arriving at the ED office, Puri excused himself to visit the toilet and then never returned. He then appeared in court seeking anticipatory bail.

Also Read: Beyond Agusta: ED claims Ratul Puri links with ‘other deals’ too

While the hearings were on, ED sent a reference on a Central Bank of India loan fraud to the CBI and a case was registered. Based on this, ED registered a money laundering case and arrested Puri even as his bail hearing in AgustaWestland case was still on. He was later arrested again in the AgustaWestland case.

In the Central Bank fraud case against Moser Baer, CBI had booked Ratul and the company, his father and Managing Director Deepak Puri, Directors Nita Puri (Ratul’s mother and Kamal Nath’s sister), Sanjay Jain and Vineet Sharma for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption.

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 then.

The agency had then carried out searches at six locations, including at the residences and offices of the accused directors.

In November last year, the ED had chargesheeted Puri in AgustaWestland case. In an over 100-page supplementary prosecution complaint (equivalent to a chargesheet) filed before a Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court, ED had cited detailed evidence in the form of email exchanges and financial transactions to prove that front companies floated by Puri received USD 1.24 million and Euro 0.7 million from companies associated with the AgustaWestland deal middlemen Christian Michel and Guido Haschke.

Part of this money was eventually invested through a maze of transactions into Hindustan Power Projects Pvt Ltd (HPPPL), a company directly owned by Puri, ED has said in the complaint. A part of this money was also used for personal purposes by Puri which included “jetsetting” globally, vacationing in Phuket, Thailand and splurging in casinos in Las Vegas. “Statements of the American Express credit card of Ratul Puri for the period November 2011 to October 2016 reveals that the amounts spent on the same are USD 4.5m,” the complaint had said.

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