- Ratul Puri was a senior executive at now-defunct firm Moser Baer
- Central Bank of India alleged he took loans and misused the money
- He was charged by CBI, 4 others too are accused of forging documents
Ratul Puri, the nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, was arrested this morning by the Enforcement Directorate for an alleged Rs 354 crore bank fraud, after multiple attempts by him to avoid being caught. The probe agency has been granted six days custody of Ratul Puri, though it had asked for 14 days.
A former senior executive of the now-defunct electronics firm Moser Baer, Ratul Puri has been charged by the CBI on a complaint by state-run Central Bank of India, which alleged that the company had taken loans from various banks since 2009 and misused the money. Mr Puri and four former directors are accused of forging bank documents for a Rs 354 crore-swindle.
Those charged include the company Moser Baer, its managing director Deepak Puri, and directors Nita Puri, Sanjay Jain and Vineet Sharma.
Moser Baer was involved in the manufacture of digital data storage media like compact discs, DVDs, solid state storage devices. The company shut down last year.
In a statement, Moser Baer called the arrest unfortunate. "Moser Baer had operated in accordance with all legal compliance and this case now, when Moser Baer is in National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), is motivated," it said.
Mr Puri has been the subject of a number of separate investigations in recent months, ranging from tax fraud to the AgustaWestland chopper scam involving allegations of bribe to facilitate a Rs 3,600 crore deal for a dozen luxury helicopters for Indian VIPs in 2007, when the Congress-led UPA was in power.
Yesterday, he was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Agusta case and after brief questioning, arrested for the alleged bank fraud.
The probe agency had told a Delhi court on Monday that Mr Puri has been evading investigation into a money laundering case linked to the chopper deal. Mr Puri told the court he was willing to join the probe into the chopper scam but requested that a non-bailable warrant put out against him be cancelled.
On July 26, the 47-year-old businessman allegedly slipped away after excusing himself in the middle of his interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate. A day later, Mr Puri requested protection from arrest, which he got after a week of court hearings.
His anticipatory bail was cancelled on August 6 by the same court, which also put out a non-bailable warrant against him.
Mr Puri approached the High Court and managed to get a reprieve from arrest until the court decided on his request to cancel the arrest warrant. The protection ended today. Even before the court's decision tomorrow, he was arrested.