New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday arrested Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri, the 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 lodging a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Puri and others on Monday night based on the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) FIR.
Puri was arrested from his Delhi residence on Tuesday morning.
The ED will seek Puri’s custody to question him in the case registered by the CBI on August 17.
The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister told the media: “I have no connection with the business they (Ratul Puri and his family) are doing. To me, it appears to be a purely malafide action. I have full faith that courts will take corrective stand.”
Moser Baer called Puri’s arrest “unfortunate”.
“Moser Baer had operated in accordance with all legal compliances and this case now, when Moser Baer is in National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), is motivated,” the company said in a statement.
The CBI 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 also searched 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.
The company is involved in the manufacture of optical storage media like compact discs, DVDs and solid state storage devices.
Moser Baer 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 part of the CBI FIR.
When it was unable to repay the debt, a forensic audit was done and 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 bank, thereby making a wrongful gain to themselves.
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 alleged.
“The funds granted by the banks have been misused and misappropriated by MBIL (Moser Baer India Ltd) 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 one of the primary securities of the bank,” it 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.
As the ED also wants to question Ratul Puri in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, it began to tighten the noose against him on Monday, asking a court here that the businessman was evading an investigation.
The VVIP chopper case pertains to alleged irregularities in the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers from Italy-based Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary, AgustaWestland.