A Delhi court Friday granted bail to Yasmin Kapoor, a close aide of co-accused and corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar, in a money laundering case related to negotiations that allegedly favoured foreign private airlines causing losses to state-owned Air India.
Special Judge Anuradha Shukla Bhardwaj granted relief to the accused, saying she was not the main accused.
The ED had arrested Kapoor on October 3 after the court cancelled the anticipatory bail granted to her in the case after the probe agency submitted that she was misusing the bail.
The bail was granted on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh with one surety of like amount.
“The accused apparently is not the main accused and was on anticipatory bail for a considerable time before she was taken into custody…
“In view of he facts as they are, the application of accused seeking grant of regular bail is allowed,” the court said.
“The applicant shall not make any efforts to contact accused Deepak Talwar while he remains in judicial custody directly or indirectly,” it added
“The applicant shall not contact the absconding accused persons or provide any assistance to then in evading the process of court/investigation. The applicant shall not contact any of the witnesses examined, being examined or likely to be examined by the ED,” the court said.
It added that the accused will not leave the country with its prior permission.
While seeking the bail, senior advocate Hari Haran told the court that the ED had already filed the supplementary charge sheet and she was not required for the further probe and that there was no need to keep her in further custody.
“The applicant (Kapoor) is willing to give an undertaking that she will in no manner, whatsoever, interfere or attempt to interfere with the investigation or the process of administration of justice,” he told the court.
He told the court, “The applicant had no direct role in the offence…The court had previously considered the fact that the evidence being of documentary nature there is no likelihood of it being tampered with.”
ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana told the court that the investigation in the case was still on and at a crucial stage.
Rana said that two accused — Rishi Chauhan and Aditya Talwar — were absconding.
“Kapoor had tried to influence witness and there is likelihood of her interfering with the investigation knowing her past conduct. It will also delay the process of investigation,” the agency told the court.
Advocate A R Aditya, also appearing for the accused, had earlier told the court that several companies, in which Kapoor was a shareholder along with Talwar, received the proceeds of the crime.
Kapoor was granted anticipatory bail by the court on March 22, while Talwar was in judicial custody in the case lodged by the ED.
She had sought anticipatory bail claiming that the ED threatened her to take names and also to convince Talwar to give names of government officials or political functionaries, failing which she would be arrested.
Talwar was deported from the UAE in connection with the money laundering case.
The ED had earlier said that it needed to interrogate Yasmin and Talwar to get the names of Ministry of Civil Aviation, National Aviation Company of India Ltd and Air India officials, who had favoured the foreign airlines, including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia.
The agency had claimed that entities directly or indirectly controlled by the accused received exorbitant amounts from Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia and submitted a chart of a total of USD 60.54 million allegedly received by firms directly or indirectly owned by Talwar between April 23, 2008 and February 6, 2009.
Talwar’s alleged role in some aviation deals during the previous Congress-led UPA regime at the Centre was also under the scanner.
He was booked by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in criminal cases of corruption, while the Income Tax department charged him with tax evasion.