The Enforcement Directorate, late Monday night arrested Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri, the then former executive director of Moser Baer in connection to a Rs 354 crore bank fraud case filed by Central Bank of IndiaNSE
Puri was arrested under the provisions of Prevention of money Laundering Act (PMLA). A criminal case was filed in this instance by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
On Sunday, the CBI had filed an FIR in the alleged bank fraud case and raided six locations including the offices and residences of the former and present directors of the company.
The development comes a week after the BENAMI Prohibition Unit of the Income Tax (IT) Department provisionally attached a bungalow worth Rs 300 crore in Lutyens Delhi registered in the name of Moser Baer group company and an FDI of $40 million.
On April 20, 2019 the Central Bank of India declared the company account as ‘fraud’ after a forensic audit. The bank in its complaint had alleged that the company had been taking loans from banks since 2009 and went for debt restructuring a number of times.
The Central Bank of India has alleged that the company has taken various types of credit facilities worth about Rs 1,962 crore from different banks over the period. The bank had extended credit facilities to the tune of over Rs 332 crore to the company till November, 2011. The bank claimed that the company and its directors forged and fabricated documents to induce Central Bank of India to release funds.
Puri had resigned from the post of executive director of the company in 2012. However, his parents continued to be on the board.
“The funds granted by the banks have been misused and misappropriated by MBIL 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,” the complaint made by the bank said.
Ratul Puri is also being probed in the AgustaWestland chopper scam.
The ED on Monday had told the court that Puri was evading prove in the chopper scam case. Puri’s counsel has alleged that the probing agencies have been unfair to his client who is willing to cooperate.
The court had issued the Non-Bailable-Warrant against Puri while noting the ED’s submissions that the businessman might try to tamper with evidence and influence witnesses “as he already did earlier”.
CM Kamal Nath termed the arrest as “purely mala fide action”.
“I have no connection with the business they are doing. To me, it appears to be a purely mala fide action. I have full faith that courts will take corrective stand in this,” Kamal Nath told reporters.
Besides Ratul, his father and Managing Director Deepak Puri, mother and Director Nita Puri (Kamal Nath’s sister), and other Directors Sanjay Jain and Vineet Sharma have been booked, along with the company, Moser Baer India Limited. They have been booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption.
(With Inputs from PTI)