Court remands Ratul Puri to ED custody for 6 days

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday sent businessman Ratul Puri to a six-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a Rs 354 crore bank fraud case.

Special CBI judge Sanjay Garg pronounced the order. Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court had dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of Puri in the AgustaWestland case.

The ED early on Tuesday had arrested Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and a former Executive Director of Moser Baer, in connection with a Rs 354 crore bank fraud case filed by the Central Bank of India.

The agency took the action after filing a money laundering case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Puri and others late on Monday night based on the Central Bureau of Investigation's FIR.

The CBI had booked Ratul Puri, his company, his father and Managing Director Deepak Puri, Directors Nita Puri (Ratul's mother and Kamal Nath's sister), Sanjay Jain and Vineet Sharma for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption.

The CBI on Sunday had also carried out searches at six locations, including the residences and offices of the accused directors.

Ratul Puri had resigned from the post of Executive Director of Moser Baer in 2012, while his parents continued to be on the board, the Central Bank of India had said in a statement.

The company is involved in the manufacture of optical storage media like compact discs, DVDs, solid state storage devices.

It was taking loans from various banks since 2009 and went for debt restructuring a number of times, the bank has alleged in the complaint which is now part of the CBI FIR.

When it was unable to pay the debt, a forensic audit was done and the the account was declared as "fraud" by the Central Bank of India on April 20, 2019.

As per the CBI case, Ratul Puri through his firm has committed fraud and cheated the complainant bank, thereby making a wrongful gain to themselves and a wrongful loss to the lender bank which is a custodian of public money.

Primary security of the bank consisting of stock of finished goods, semi-finished goods and raw material have also been dishonestly and fraudulently removed by the company and its directors in order to prevent the distribution amongst the creditor banks to satisfy the debt, the bank has alleged.

"The funds granted by the banks have been misused and misappropriated by MBIL (Moser Baer India Limited) and its directors for their own personal use, MBIL and its Directors and promoters have also committed fraud in respect of reporting book debts, which were also one of the primary securities of the bank," it has said.

The bank claimed that the company and its directors forged and fabricated documents to induce the Central Bank of India to release funds, it said.

"MBIL has cause unlawful loss to our bank to the tune of Rs 354.51 crore as on November 29, 2014 and interest thereon by getting unlawful gains," the complaint said. The ED also wants to question Ratul Puri in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

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