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ED links emails in Agusta money trail to Nath’s nephew

The AgustaWestland case centres on allegations that bribes were paid to middlemen, perhaps even politicians, when India agreed to buy 12 AgustaWestland helicopters built by Italian defence manufacturing giant Finmeccanica.

ED links emails in Agusta money trail to Nath’s nephew
Reference to Kamal Nath’s son in the charge sheet is in the mention of a booking of tickets for a year-end trip to Phuket, Thailand.(ANI photo)

Las Vegas in May 2011. It notes that the sender, a hotel executive, refers to a “Mr Puri”’ and the emails are signed by“Ratul Puri”,ED mentions that the tripto the US city is on a private jet and the entourage includes Bakul Nath and Simran Nath, the Madhya Pradesh CM’s son and daughter-in-law.

“Ratul Puri has stated that he does not remember the trip despite evidence to the contrary,’’ said the charge sheet.

The same email ID was also used to instruct Wynn Las Vegas that the money in his account at the hotel could also be used by Bakul Nath, his cousin, and Vinella Jain, a friend, the charge sheet claims.

When contacted, a spokesperson for Bakul Nath called these references baseless. “Bakul Nath doesn’t have a share [in] and neither is he a director in any of the companies charge-sheeted in the AgustaWestland case,’’ said the spokesperson.

The other reference to Kamal Nath’s son in the charge sheet is in the mention of a booking of tickets for a year-end trip to Phuket, Thailand, in 2011. The above email is again used to instruct travel agent Vikas Arora to book the tickets.

“He [Ratul Puri] had created the above emails [nokiasamsung35@yahoo.com; nokiasamsung35@yahoo.co.uk and idea4800@gmail.com] for giving instructions for laundering the proceeds of crime in the present case,’’ alleged the charge sheet.

Companies identified as Technostone, Hendon Golba, Trade Service Agency, Prodexco Iberia Limited, Melleger Limited, Pacific International, Midas Metals, Metolix Limited and Euro Trade Limited received a total of $150,000 from a charge-sheeted entity Intersteller that, the ED claims, received kickbacks from IDS Tunisia, which turn received it from AgustaWestland.

Both the ED and Puri’s lawyers refused to comment on these details The charge sheet says that they have received fresh evidence and are conducting more investigations in the case.

The AgustaWestland case centres on allegations that bribes were paid to middlemen, perhaps even politicians, when India agreed to buy 12 AgustaWestland helicopters built by Italian defence manufacturing giant Finmeccanica (now known as the Leonardo group) at an estimated cost of ~3,600 crore. The helicopters, manufactured by Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland were for the “Communication Squadron of the Indian Air Force”.

The purchase, cleared in 2010 by the previous United Progressive Alliance government, envisaged replacing ageing Mi-8 choppers to ferry VVIPs like the President, vice-president, Prime Minister and the other dignitaries. The deal was scrapped in 2014 over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of payment of kickbacks.

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