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AgustaWestland case: ED replies to witness’ harassment claim

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday filed its reply on a plea by Mahipal Singh claiming that the agency had “forced” him to “give statements against industrialist Ratul Puri in the AgustaWestland case”.

Mahipal Singh claims to be a witness in the AgustaWestland case.

The agency, in its reply filed before Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar, stated that the said application was frivolous and needed to be dismissed with a heavy cost.

Placing on record the statements recorded by Mahipal Singh, the ED said that it had imputations and the time of the court had been wasted.

ED counsel Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) D.P.Singh said: “Nothing in the questions shows that the answers have been dictated. Mahipal Singh has said ‘I don’t know’. If I have to coerce, will I allow him to write ‘I don’t know’?”

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Appearing for Mahipal Singh, advocates R.K. Wadhwa and Ajayendra Singh told the court: “We have moved the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) with our grievance and my client wants to retract his statement.”

The court has tagged witness Mahipal Singh’s application with the main case and will hear it with the main case on September 18.

The bench had on Friday reserved for August 6 its order on the anticipatory bail plea filed by Kamal Nath’s nephew and industrialist Ratul Puri in the money laundering case lodged against him in connection with the AgustaWestland deal case.

In a dramatic development during the hearing on the pre-arrest bail arguments of Ratul Puri on Friday, a man barged into the Delhi court.

Claiming to be a witness in the case, the man identified himself as Mahipal Singh, a former employee of MoserBaer (Puri’s father’s company) and told the court that the ED had harassed him and forced him to write a “directed statement”.

After reprimanding Mahipal Singh’s counsel for disrupting the hearing, the court agreed to hear his application.

Ratul Puri is under the scanner for allegedly receiving kickbacks in the AgustaWestland deal through his companies.

The ED has alleged that accounts associated with firms owned and operated by Ratul Puri were used to receive kickbacks and launder money in the VVIP chopper deal.

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