The Enforcement Directorate has rejected allegations that its investigators harassed, tortured and forced a witness to make a statement implicating Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri in a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case.
Special Public Prosecutor for the agency, D P Singh, told the court of Special Judge Arvind Kumar that the application moved by the witness was “sensational” and “frivolous”.
This comes a day after a man walked into the courtroom of Special Judge Kumar in the middle of the ED’s rebuttal, claimed to a witness in the case, and leveled allegations against the agency. His advocate, Ajayinder Sangwan, had identified the witness as Mahipal had submitted that ED sleuths had taken down Mahipal’s pants and forced him to give a statement.
But Singh submitted that they have reasonable apprehension that the application was moved on behalf of Puri to derail the investigation, and possibly tamper with evidence.
Mahipal alleged that the ED dictated a statement to him on July 23 and “harassed and tortured” him the following day, before making him sign the statement on July 25. He also told the court that he has moved the National Human Rights Commission over the issue.
The ED replied that it had recorded Mahipal’s statement over his association with Puri’s company and his family, and his growth to get information on the modus operandi of cash transactions, as also to get names of people who could be important to the investigation.
The court has extended Puri’s interim protection from arrest until August 6 and listed the matter for hearing on September 18.
The ED said they had sought details of another VVIP chopper case witness K K Khosla from Mahipal. Khosla, the agency claims, has been missing for the last four months, and it didn’t know whether he is alive or absconding.