VVIP chopper scam: ED files supplementary chargesheet against Ratul Puri in money laundering case

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Updated: November 2, 2019 8:28:18 PM

Special judge Arvind Kumar took cognisance of the charge sheet and issued a production warrant for Puri on December 18. The court also summoned Jaspreet Ahuja, an alleged close-aide of Puri and named in the charge sheet, on the next date of hearing.

The agency arrested Puri on September 4 and he is currently in judicial custody.

The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday filed a supplementary charge sheet against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri in a money laundering case related to the alleged AgustaWestland chopper scam. Special judge Arvind Kumar took cognisance of the charge sheet and issued a production warrant for Puri on December 18.

The court also summoned Jaspreet Ahuja, an alleged close-aide of Puri and named in the charge sheet, on the next date of hearing.
The agency arrested Puri on September 4 and he is currently in judicial custody. The money laundering case was lodged following alleged irregularities in the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers from Italy-based Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary, AgustaWestland.

During the hearing, ED’s Special Public Prosecutor N K Matta told the court that Puri had allegedly received proceeds of crime from Interstellar Technologies Ltd, owned by Rajiv Saxena and Global Services FZE and Globe Oil FZE, owned by alleged middleman Christian Michel. He said that further investigation was on in the case.

Michel, extradited from Dubai and arrested by the ED last December, is in judicial custody in connection with the scam case. Saxena, who was also arrested in the case, had turned approver. “Accused Ratul Puri has received proceeds of crime amounting to Euro 704,134.57 and USD 150,000 from Interstellar Technologies Limited in his foreign entities. The same were thereafter layered through various companies in foreign jurisdictions and then brought into India and invested in Hindustan Power Group whose Chairman is Puri,” the 93-page charge sheet claimed.

Puri had also received proceeds of crime amounting to USD 1,240,890 from Michel’s companies through the companies of Saxena, it alleged. The charge sheet further claimed that the other accused, Jaspreet Ahuja, a former UBS executive had allegedly assisted Puri in laundering the proceeds of crime through various overseas channels by creating, maintaining and managing the foreign companies which belonged to Puri.

“The money laundering, in the predicate offence in this case, has primarily been affected by the Puri through two channels. The kingpin of one of the channel is Christian Michel James and his associates, while the second channel is designed and operated by Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa,” it claimed.

Puri was earlier arrested in another case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for alleged bank fraud after he appeared before the central probe agency here in the chopper scam after it had slapped a fresh criminal case against him and others, taking cognisance of a CBI FIR. The PMLA case emerged from a CBI FIR of August 17, in which 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.

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