NEW DELHI: In a dramatic turn of events, a man claiming to be a witness in the VVIP chopper scam appeared before a Delhi court on Friday alleging that ED forced him to make certain statements in the case and he wants to retract them.
The man claimed before Special Judge Arvind Kumar that the Enforcement Directorate "physically tortured" and "harassed" him and made him write a story as narrated and directed by the agency officials.
The man -- Mahipal -- barged into the courtroom while the judge was hearing the anticipatory bail application of Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in connection with a money laundering case related to the scam.
The judge, who reserved its order on Puri's application for August 6 while extending the protection granted to him from arrest till then, questioned the manner in which the man approached the court.
The counsel for Mahipal told the court that he approached it after reading in newspapers that the matter was being heard.
"Did the newspapers also write the exact time this matter was to be taken up? Why did you not approach the police if you were threatened by the ED? Now court is going to tell you what to do in case of threat," the visibly irked judge said.
The judge, however, agreed to hear his application on Saturday.
In his application, Mahipal has claimed that he was "harassed on the first day (July 23) and made to write dictated story as narrated and directed by the ED officials".
"On July 24, the applicant was tortured and harassed and again he was called for July 25 and made to sign the statement as dictated and narrated by ED officials.
When the applicant on July 25 refused to write and sign the narrated story as dictated by the ED officials, he was forced to remove his pants, and was tortured physically, hence he agreed to write and sign the documents," the application said.
He alleged that the ED officials were carrying on the investigation "by creating false evidence to implicate the innocent persons".
"It is high time that court should monitor the investigation to save the innocent people from the atrocities of the ED. The statement of the applicant was recorded forcefully and with coercion and mental pressure."
"The applicant was constantly threatened by ED officials not to report about forceful recording of his statement to anyone and in case he does then he will face dire consequences," the application said.
During the hearing of Puri's application, his counsel and senior advocate A M Singhvi told the court that the ED itself had discredited Rajeev Saxena, an accused who recently turned approver in the case, and on the basis of his statement the agency wanted to arrest Puri.
The ED, however, said that there were other documentary evidences against Puri.
The agency earlier this month approached the court seeking cancellation of Saxena's bail, claiming that he was not cooperating in the investigation.
It had earlier supported Saxena's application seeking bail and pardon in the case and had said that he will be helpful in the probe if allowed to turned approver.
Puri, chairman of Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd, had on July 27 approached the court seeking anticipatory bail in the case, saying he feared arrest in the case.
The court had on Saturday granted the interim protection till Monday, which was extended time to time since then.
Puri recently appeared before the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in the case pertaining to the now scrapped Rs 3,600 crore chopper deal with AgustaWestland.