A man claiming to be a witness in the AgustaWestland money laundering case walked into a courtroom with his advocate where Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri’s anticipatory bail hearing was underway, and claimed that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had forced him to remove his pants, tortured him in custody, and made him give a statement.
The scenes unfolded in the courtroom of Special Judge Arvind Kumar, when Special Public Prosecutor for the ED, D P Singh, was rebutting Puri’s counsel Abhishek Singhvi’s arguments.
The man walked in with his advocate, Ajayinder Sangwan, who told the judge, “My Lord, I am sorry for interrupting…. I have an application to submit. This is a witness and his pants were taken down…he was tortured… He was forced to give a statement.”
Sangwan identified the witness as Mahipal.
Special Judge Kumar asked, “Why no complaint was filed before the police? Your only remedy is before this court?” Sangwan replied, “How can I complain against the ED to the police?”
The judge said, “What was the urgency? There are the police and other agencies…. You have come to this court because this matter was taking place. Did you know this matter was going on?”
Sangwan said he read about Puri’s case in the newspapers and told the court that Mahipal was forced to give a statement. The judge allowed his application to be heard on Saturday.
ED sources said Mahipal handled Puri’s cash transactions. His statement was recorded by ED a month and a half ago, they said.
Sangwan has moved an application for retraction of Mahipal’s statement given before the ED, stating that his client was called by ED on July 23 and wrote a dictated story after threats were issued to him.
Arguments in Puri’s anticipatory bail hearing concluded on Friday and the matter has been listed for orders on August 6.