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A Special Court in Delhi on Tuesday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of businessman Ratul Puri, in connection with the AgustaWestland money laundering case.

The court order came barely a couple of hours after Puri,  who is the  nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath withdrew his petition from the Delhi High Court seeking direction to a trial court not to pronounce order on his anticipatory bail plea without hearing his other pending applications.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar, while dismissing the bail application of Puri also dismissed two other applications moved by his counsel, Abhishek  Singhvi. On a day of fast moving developments, Puri had also sought extension of interim protection from arrest by a week and challenged reserving of the order on anticipatory bail, saying the court has not decided his application seeking copy of an FIR and a statement recorded under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Justice Sunil Gaur dismissed the plea after Puri’s counsel sought permission to withdraw it. The court granted him liberty to approach the trial court with the plea during the day.

The trial court, which had on Aug 2 reserved its order on the businessman’s anticipatory bail plea, later dismissed his bail plea.

The trial court had last week granted him interim protection from arrest till Tuesday. Puri had on July 27 approached the trial court seeking anticipatory bail in the case, saying he feared arrest in the case.

Puri recently appeared before the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in the case pertaining to the now scrapped Rs 3,600 crore chopper deal with AgustaWestland.

The ED has been seeking the businessman’s custody to further investigate the matter. The agency’s counsel had earlier contended before the trial court that Puri was an influential person and might flee the country.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in purchase of 12 VVIP choppers from Italy-based Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland.

The deal was scrapped by the NDA government in 2014 over the alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of payment of kickbacks for securing the deal.

—India Legal Bureau

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