The ED Wednesday told a Delhi court that Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, was not in a position to surrender as offered by him in the AgustaWestland chopper scam since he is already in its custody in another case. The Enforcement Directorate made the submission before special judge Arvind Kumar while opposing an application by Puri, seeking to surrender in the money laundering case related to the chopper scam.
Puri is already in the ED custody till August 30 in a separate money laundering case related to a bank fraud connected to his company Moser Baer. "We cannot take him into custody. The law does not permit us. He is already in custody. He has no control over his body. How can he come and say take me in custody? We cannot take him in custody because he is already in custody in another case. A person can surrender only when he is free," the agency told the court.
Appearing for Puri, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra told the court that there was a non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against the accused in the chopper scam case and he wanted to surrender.
The NBW was issued by the court on August 9 in the chopper case, before ED arrested Puri on August 20 in the bank loan matter related to Moser Baer.
"I want to surrender but the ED does not want to arrest me. They (ED) need to take responsibility of their actions. They chose to move an arrest warrant (NBW). Now when I want to surrender, they say they don't want me to surrender. If ED says they cannot arrest me right now, can I be deprived of taking the legal benefit of that," Luthra said.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers from Italy-based Finmeccanica's British subsidiary, AgustaWestland.
The deal was scrapped by the NDA government in 2014 over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of payment of kickbacks for securing the deal.
According to the ED, the proceeds of the crime have been deposited in the accounts of different companies owned by Puri and he is a key link to unearth the modus operandi adopted by the other accused and to determine last-mile connectivity of the proceeds.