Hindustan Power Projects chairman Ratul Puri
Hindustan Power Projects chairman Ratul Puri

VVIP chopper case: ED probes Congress leader Kamal Nath’s nephew

  • While Ratul Puri denied involvement in AgustaWestland case, the Congress blamed BJP for misusing probe agencies
  • Ratul Puri was summoned by ED after he was named by Dubai-based businessman Rajeev Saxena and Sushen Mohan Gupta, alleged middleman in the chopper scam

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday summoned Hindustan Power Projects Pvt. Ltd chairman Ratul Puri in the AgustaWestland chopper scam case.

With Puri being the nephew of Madhya Pradesh chief minister and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath, the move could hand the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) a potential tool to target the opposition ahead of the general elections.

A person familiar with the developments said requesting anonymity that Dubai-based businessman Rajeev Saxena, who turned approver last week, has allegedly named Puri in connection with the case.

The person said the ED, which has intensified its investigation in the case, is now trying to “piece together all the information on the basis of investigations" and allegations that Puri had a role in the channelling of kickbacks.

Puri was summoned by the probe agency after he was named by Saxena and Sushen Mohan Gupta, another alleged middleman in the chopper scam. While Puri told reporters in New Delhi that he had no “connections with any defence deals or to my relatives," the Congress blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party for misusing investigation agencies.

“Since 2016, the BJP cries about Agusta everyday. Since the last 4.5 years, the BJP, its ED and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have not found any evidence against any Congress leader," said party spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill.

Hindustan Power also issued a denial. “Ratul Puri issues a categorical denial of having any connection or involvement of any kind in defence, in the AgustaWestland case. He would be fully cooperating with the ED investigation and provide any clarification or information as may be required."

The ED on Thursday also filed a supplementary charge sheet, contents of which have not been made public, against alleged middleman Christian Michel. The agency has also named Michel’s partner David Syms, as an accused in the case. The charge sheet was filed before special judge Arvind Kumar of the Patiala house court.