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MP CM Kamal Nath's nephew Ratul Puri being questioned by ED in VVIP chopper case

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New Delhi, Apr 04: Businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, is being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, a government official said on Thursday.

The directorate had summoned Ratul Puri on the basis of interrogation of Sushen Mohan Gupta, an arrested middleman in the case whose custodial interrogation was extended by three more days yesterday.

MP CM Kamal Naths nephew Ratul Puri being questioned by ED in VVIP chopper case

Puri, is the chairman of Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd, one of India's leading integrated power players in the energy sector.

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ED's special public prosecutors D P Singh and N K Matta yesterday told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that Gupta's extended custody was required so that he could be confronted with various people, including Puri, in the case pertaining to the scrapped Rs 3,600 crore chopper deal.

According to ED officials, Puri's name came up in a statement recorded by Dubai-based businessman Rajeev Saxena, who turned approver in the case after being deported from the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd in a statement categorically denied any connection with the AgustaWestland case.

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

India on January 1, 2014 scrapped the deal with Italy-based Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland over an alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore for securing the deal.

In December last year, Dubai-based businessman Christian Michel, an alleged middleman in the deal, was extradited to India and lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has alleged there was an estimated loss of euro 398.21 million (Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010 for the supply of VVIP choppers worth euro 556.262 million.

The ED, in its charge sheet filed against Michel in June 2016, alleged that he received euro 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland.

(with agency inputs)

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