Kamal Nath's nephew Ratul Puri arrested by ED for alleged bank loan fraud
Ratul Puri, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath's nephew, has been arrested by the ED in a new case of money laundering.
The allegations against him link to an alleged Rs 354-crore bank loan fraud, ED officials said on August 20.
Puri, an entrepreneur, was placed under arrest under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) late night on 19 August, after he appeared before the agency. The ED slapped a fresh criminal case against him and others, taking cognizance of a CBI FIR filed last week.
The agency, understandably wants to interrogate him in custody, as Puri has allegedly been non-cooperative in this case. He will be produced before a special court in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The Puri family, along with individuals Sanjay Jain and Vineet Sharma have been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption. Puri was charged in this case as executive director of Moser Baer India Limited (MBIL), a firm promoted by his father Deepak Puri. Though Puri had resigned from the post in 2012, his parents continued to be on the board, the bank had said in a statement and complaint to the CBI.
Moser Baer has been taking loans from various banks since 2009 and was in a debt restructuring process a number of times. When the company failed to pay its Central Bank of India debt, an audit was done and the the account was declared as 'fraud' by the bank on April 20, 2019.
Puri was already under the probe scanner of the agency in connection with the high-profile AgustaWestland VVIP choppers corruption case, with a non-bailable warrant issued against him. The ED had told the court that the businessman might try to tamper with evidence and influence witnesses 'as he already did earlier'.
However, Delhi High Court had on August 14 granted Puri interim protection to Puri from arrest till August 21.
The latest case has been started on the basis an FIR filed with the CBI on August 17 in which Puri, his father Deepak, mother Nita (Kamal Nath's sister), among 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 on August 18.
The bank claimed that the company and its directors forged and fabricated documents to induce the Central Bank of India to release funds. Puri is facing criminal investigation by three central probe agencies – the ED, the CBI and the Income Tax department.
The IT 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 chopper deal case, cancelled by India in 2014 on charges of corruption.