Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri led a “lavish” lifestyle using a credit card issued by a Dubai-based hawala operator, an accused in the VVIP choppers scam, to travel in private jets and visit night clubs, the ED has said in its chargesheet in a Rs 8,000 crore bank loan money laundering case.
The central agency filed a prosecution complaint (chargesgeet) against Puri, his associates and Moser Baer India Ltd, a company promoted by his father, before a special court here on Thursday. The case registered under the criminal provision of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is related to the “misappropriation” of about Rs 8,000 crore bank loans, the Enforcement Directorate said a statement issued on Friday.
“Probe revealed that Puri had transferred funds consisting of bank loans to various subsidiaries of Moser Baer across the world in the guise of giving loans and investments. “Further, Puri with the help of various hawala operators and professionals created corporate structures in various jurisdictions and invested in asset creation like buying factory, movable assets and also for funding a lavish lifestyle for which a credit card was got issued from Dubai-based hawala operator Rajiv Saxena,” the agency said.
Saxena, a prime accused in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP choppers money laundering case, was deported to India from Dubai early this year. “The total amount spent on the credit card is USD 4.5 million which has been used for lavish stays, on holiday travelling in private jets and night clubs,” the agency claimed. Puri, who has been an executive director in Moser Baer, was arrested by the agency in this case in August and is at present in judicial custody. He and his family have denied any wrongdoing on their part.
The ED said loans to the tune of Rs 7,979.30 crore, taken from various banks, have been misused and misappropriated by Moser Baer, its directors/promoters for their own use and have further been transferred in the companies of Puri’s Hindustan Power Group.
“In order to avail the loan and for corporate debt restructuring, a fabricated document was submitted to the bank showing infusion of promoters’ contribution which itself had come from suspicious sources.” “Corporate guarantees were given to lure the banks to disburse loans to subsidiaries beyond the net worth of Moser Baer,” the ED alleged.
Over a period of time, it said, the receivables were written off and investments were shown to be diminished and written off. “No efforts were made to recover the amounts. Most of the subsidiaries have an outstanding financial liability towards the banks totalling to Rs 7,979.30 crore,” it said. The ED case is based on a CBI FIR of August 17, where Puri, his father Deepak Puri, mother Nita (Kamal 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 bank claimed the company and its directors forged and fabricated documents to induce the Central Bank of India to release funds. The Puri family as well as other individuals like Sanjay Jain and Vineet Sharma were booked by the CBI for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption. The company manufactures optical storage media like compact discs, DVDs, solid state storage devices. Ratul Puri is facing probe by three main central probe agencies, ED, CBI and the Income Tax department.