Not Linked To Kin’s Biz, Says Kamal Nath, Questions Timing Of Probe
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
The Enforcement Directorate, which has cross-examined a dozen politically-exposed people for their suspected links in the laundering of AgustaWestland kickbacks, on Thursday questioned businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath.
Puri was questioned by the agency in the presence of Sushen Gupta, one of the accused in the AgustaWestland case, who was arrested on March 26 and is still in ED’s custody. Puri was confronted with certain financial transactions found as diary entries made by Gupta.
News agency ANI quoted Kamal Nath on his nephew being called for investigation by the ED: “He’s independent and has nothing to do with politics as I have nothing to do with his business. Whatever there is, it must be investigated but how these issues have come up during elections?”
The ED has found entries worth Rs 50 crore made against one “RG”, for which it has already questioned at least 10 people so far mentioned by Gupta during his interrogation in the past one week.
Puri’s name came up during custodial interrogation of Gupta when the latter was questioned about certain undisclosed financial transactions found in his diary notes. The diary in question was hidden in Dubai with another accused, Rajiv Saxena, who delivered it to the agency after he turned approver in the case.
Gupta maintained his diary outside the country and kept it in safe lockers in Dubai at Saxena’s house.
Sushen Gupta, through Rajiv Saxena and his wife Shivani, allegedly controlled many shell companies that were involved in laundering kickbacks in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal worth around Rs 3,600 crore. Saxena had set up Interstellar Technologies Ltd in Mauritius and two other companies in Dubai where proceeds of crime were transferred. Both Saxena and his wife were directors in the these entities, according to ED investigation.
Sources said Puri had been questioned by the agency a few years ago in a related case of money laundering. However, this time the agency has found some concrete evidence through diary entries of Gupta and many transactions have been corroborated through information received from Mauritius.
The Rs 50 crore transactions listed in Gupta’s diary pertain to the period between 2004 to 2016 and are related to AugustaWestland kickbacks and other defence deals of UPA era, sources said.ED emphasised that Ratul Puri is an important link who can reveal the actual beneficiaries of the kickbacks in the deal.