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Ratul Puri threatened chopper-scam accused against sharing info on father, uncle, says ED

Ratul Puri threatened chopper-scam accused against sharing info on father, uncle, says ED

New Delhi: Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, "threatened" VVIP choppers scam accused Rajiv Saxena not to share evidence against an uncle of his and father, the ED has alleged in its latest charge sheet in the Rs 3,600-crore defence scandal.

The central probe agency has charged the 47-year-old promoter of Hindustan Power Projects Pvt Ltd with "destruction of evidence" and said it had to go to the extent of recovering "ashes" of burnt documents during raids at the premises of Ratul Puri's close aide Niamat Singh.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its prosecution complaint or charge sheet filed before a special court here on November 2, has charged Ratul Puri of using corporate structures "owned or maintained" by Saxena to launder kickbacks in the scam received from the three alleged middlemen in the case -- Christian Michel James, Carlos Gerosa and Guido Haschke.

Saxena and James were deported by probe agencies from Dubai this year and in 2018, respectively, and at present, they are in judicial custody.

"Rajiv Saxena is an approver in this case. He has also been threatened and pressurised by Ratul Puri not to give documents/evidences against Ratul's father and uncle, the ED said.

Ratul Puri's father Deepak Puri is the managing director of optical storage media firm Moser Baer, but the identity of the "uncle" has not been stated by the ED in the charge sheet.

"He (Saxena) was further asked to be selective in providing details and to slow down the process of giving data and details which have been admitted by him in a statement made under Section 50," the agency said. A statement made under section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is admissible in court.

The ED recently moved a court here seeking to revoke the 'approver' status of Saxena owing to non-cooperation and non disclosure of full information privy to him in the AgustaWestland VVIP choppers purchase deal case that was scrapped by India in 2014 on allegations of alleged kickbacks being paid to procure a dozen helicopters for flying top government functionaries like the prime minister and the president. The over 100-pages charge sheet accessed by PTI also mentions the name of Ratul Puri's cousin and Chief Minister Kamal Nath's younger son Bakul Nath, for undertaking various joint trips abroad.

Ratul Puri's mother Nita is Kamal Nath's sister.

An email recovered by the ED found that Ratul Puri, Bakul Nath and a few others made a trip in June, 2011 on a "private jet" to a five-star luxury resort called Wynn in Las Vegas. The luxurious facility, on its website, boasts of offering an "exciting entertainment and lifestyle" along with a casino and spa. PTI

Neelabh Srivastava

Neelabh Srivastava

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