VVIP chopper case: ED removes IO for mishandling inquiry

NEW DELHI:The Enforcement Directorate has removed its investigating officer in the high-profile AgustaWestland VVIP choppers money laundering case for allegedly mishandling the inquiry, official sources said on Wednesday.

VVIP chopper case: ED removes IO for mishandling inquiry

Ratul Puri. PTI file photo

New Delhi, September 18

The Enforcement Directorate has removed its investigating officer in the high-profile AgustaWestland VVIP choppers money laundering case for allegedly mishandling the inquiry, official sources said on Wednesday.

The officer was issued a show cause notice after Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, and an accused in the case, had slipped out of the agency's office in July. The incident took place when Puri was waiting for his turn for questioning in the case, they said.

The officer has been removed from the probe in the Rs 3,600 crore alleged money laundering case and an explanation has been sought from him as to how the lapse happened, the sources said.

Puri had applied for anticipatory bail the very next day of the incident (July 26).

The officer is on deputation at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from the Income Tax Department.

The incident led to serious delay in the probe in the sensitive case that has political links and cross-border ramifications, the sources said.

They said a new investigating officer has been appointed.

Puri was recently arrested by the agency in a money-laundering case linked to an alleged bank fraud and later, he was also placed under arrest in the VVIP choppers deal case by the ED.

The ED is probing both the cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The multi-crore deal to purchase AgustaWestland choppers for VVIPs was scrapped by India over allegations of corruption and kick backs being paid in the deal. The ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are probing the case and they have already filed multiple charge sheets. PTI

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