The counsel of Ratul Puri, who is under the scanner for allegedly receiving kickbacks in the AgustaWestland chopper scam, on Thursday told a Delhi court that the Enforcement Directorate had made “contradictory statements” pertaining to a “missing witness” and added that the agency had made an attempt to “prejudice the judge”.
The statement by the counsel of Puri — the nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath — came after the ED on Tuesday had told the court that a witness in the AgustaWestland case, whose identity was disclosed as K K Khosla, “must have been killed”. The agency said that “his family was too scared to register an FIR”.
However, on Wednesday, ED special prosecutor D P Singh told the judge, “A little birdie tells us that we might have Khosla today or tomorrow somewhere.”
On Thursday, Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Puri, told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that the ED’s case was “prejudiced”, and that it was the “utter irresponsibility of the prosecution” to claim that “Khosla not only vanished but might have been killed”.
“If you want to prejudice the judge then don’t do it clumsily. This imaginary murder… that I (Puri) am so influential that I got him killed, and his family does not file an FIR? The ED is terrified of filing an FIR? What will happen if he (Khosla) suddenly appears? Then the ED will say I used the word murder and in my dictionary murder and kidnapping are the same.”
He said, “This is not responsible prosecuting, this is not even persecuting. Paint the man black…give the dog a bad name and hang him,” Singhvi told the court.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, also appearing for Puri, told the court that the ED made contradicting statements. “One day they say he may have been killed, then the next day there is some other statement. There was a mention of a birdie.” To this, Singh replied, “I had said that. There is a buzz that in one hour’s notice… he will re-emerge. I still do not know whether he is alive or not or whether is absconding or not.”
Aggarwal replied, “Will the court decide the matter on the basis of a buzz?”
Puri’s counsel also told the court that the ED showed the judge a mobile phone and some statements, but they were not provided with the same for a fair chance to rebut. His counsel further submitted that Puri was not a flight risk and was willing to provide them with documents and meet with the officials at any given time.
Aggarwal asked if they could be provided with the case files, to which the judge said, “We will decide.” Aggarwal then claimed that the ED during their arguments said that “Puri is guilty of money laundering and is tampering beyond reasonable doubt”.“This shows that I will not be given a fair trial. Prosecution is the judge,” Aggarwal said. The arguments in the case remained inconclusive, and will continue on Friday.
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