No relief for Ratul Puri, court denies interim stay on NBW

New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) A Delhi court on Saturday refused to stay the non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against businessman Ratul Puri.

Puri, who is a relative of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, had knocked on the court's doors seeking cancellation or staying of the NBW issued against him in connection with a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland deal.

Special CBI Judge sought the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) response on Puri's petition filed through his counsel Vijay Aggarwal, but refused to stay the NBW.

During the course of the hearing, Aggarwal said: "I got interim protection from the High Court on 13th, sent them a mail on 14th mentioning that I am willing to join the investigation on 15th. We sent a similar mail today as well."

"If they had called me and I had sat there, as far as my understanding goes the warrant would have lapsed," he added.

"I'm calling him everyday, but he didn't come then. Now, he wants to come on August 15, which is a national holiday. This is just an attempt to confuse the court by filing multiple applications," said Special Public Prosecutor D.P. Singh countering Aggarwal's submissions.

The Delhi High Court had on Wednesday directed that no coercive action can be taken against Puri in the case. It however, granted the ED the liberty to join the investigation if required.

The High Court also asked the investigating agency to state in an affidavit the developments in the case so far, the reasons why it needs Puri's custodial interrogation and the details and extent of his property attached by the Income Tax Department.

The High Court will now hear the matter on August 20.

"If they have an interim protection from arrest given by the High Court, then what is the need to stay the NBW?" the Special Public Prosecutor asked.

Puri, who is being questioned by the ED in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, had on July 26 escaped on the pretext of going to the washroom, said an agency official.

When he did not return to join the investigation, agency officials tried to call him on his mobile phone, but it was found switched off. However, Puri has denied the charges.

Ratul Puri is under the scanner for allegedly receiving kickbacks and laundering money in the AgustaWestland deal through his companies.

--IANS

anb/rtp

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