SHADOW ON KAMAL… ED arrests Ratul, nephew of MP CM Kamal Nath in Rs 354crore bank fraud

NEW DELHI: Businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a Rs 354crore bank fraud case. The arrest followed investigations into a complaint filed by Central Bank of India about fraudulent activities. Rahul Puri was formerly executive director of Moser Baer. 
A week ago, CBI had filed FIR against Ratul Puri, his father Deepak Puri who heads the company as its executive director, as also Ratul Puri’s mother who is sister of Kamal Nath. They were charged with conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption as per the complaint filed by the Central Bank of India. Ratul Puri had quit the firm in 2012 and operated the family enterprise from behind.
The company was taking huge loans since 2000 and repeatedly resorted to debt-restructuring pleas. Meanwhile, investigation found fraudulent activities relating to the bank account of the company, including acts of money laundering. As per the bank’s complaint, the accused had forged papers to avail huge loans.

Ratul Puri, who was close to Kamal Nath, was also accused of having played a role in the corruption related to the AgustaWestland Chopper deal. Middleman Rajeev Saxena who turned approver in the case made a mention of Ratul Puri’s involvement in the deal, in a statement he submitted to the investigating officials. A week ago, the Enforcement Directorate had reported to the court that Ratul Puri was not cooperating with their investigations.
The Puri family was hoping against hope that the Congress would return to the power in Delhi after the 2019 LS polls, and that this would pave the way for the closure of the cases. Investigating officials too kept their fingers crossed in the weeks before the LS polls, as to how the political scenario would pan out. Kamal Nath and his family have extensive business interests in central India region, which thrived under the UPA governments through multiple means of money play. 

The shadow of the present cases could reach up to Kamal Nath, feels his political and business rivals. Kamal Nath, a chum of Sanjay Gandhi since his Doon School days, is a crafty politician. He was among those detested by Rajiv Gandhi. Yet he managed to get into the good books of Sonia Gandhi when she started leading the Congress party. Kamal Nath was part of the Manmohan Singh governments, and as a minister he was accused of seeking and collecting from contractors a certain percent of  funds from every government project. This was the time he headed the Urban Development ministry at the Centre.  

Speculations are also that Kamal Nath has many aces up his sleeves, and can browbeat the Modi government if push comes to shove. IHN-NN

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