The Delhi High Court directed Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday not to take any coercive steps till next Tuesday against Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in a money laundering case linked to the AgustaWestland Chopper scam.
Justice Sunil Gaur said the Enforcement Directorate is at liberty to direct Ratul Puri to join further investigation.
The court granted the interim protection till August 20, when it would further hear Ratul Puri's plea challenging a trial court's order denying him anticipatory bail.
"In the peculiarity of this case, it is deemed appropriate to call upon the respondent (ED) not to take any coercive steps against petitioner, with liberty to ED to direct Puri to join further investigation, if required," the court said in its four-page order.
The court also asked the Enforcement Directorate to file a status report apprising it about the development in the money laundering case linked to the now scrapped, Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland Chopper deal after Ratul Puri was denied anticipatory bail last week.
The court said the status report should explain "the exact role of petitioner (Puri) in (alleged) money laundering which is detected so far".
The court also asked the probe agency the reason for seeking his custodial interrogation.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi and lawyer Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Ratul Puri, submitted that he be given interim protection till the next date of hearing as he apprehends arrest and sought anticipatory bail on the ground that he was cooperating in the investigation.
The high court asked ED to file a status report explaining the extent of attachment of properties relating to Ratul Puri under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act and value of the properties attached by the Income Tax Department.
Ratul Puri, a businessman, is an accused in a money laundering case related to the now scrapped Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal.
The trial court had on August 9 issued non-bailable warrant against Ratul Puri on ED's plea.
According to Enforcement Directorate, Ratul Puri has not been joining the investigation since he was granted interim protection by court on July 27 on his application for anticipatory bail, which was later dismissed on August 6.
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 the alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of payment of kickbacks for securing the deal.
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