Pleas of Abhishek Verma, wife rejected

The pleas of businessman Abhishek Vermaand his wife for their release from judicial custody in the Enforcement Directorate’s money launderingcase was dismissed today by a  Delhi court.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gautam Manan also extended the judicial custody of Verma and his Romanian wife Anca Maria Neascu till October 1 after the couple was produced before him following the issuance of production warrants against them on September 10.

“I am rejecting your applications. The judicial custody is extended till October 1,” the judge said.

The court on September 10 had issued production warrants for today against both the accused after they failed to appear before it as they were then in the CBI’s custody in connection with a case lodged under the Official Secrets Act.

The couple had sought their release from judicial custody in the money laundering case saying the “continuity of their custody has been broken” by the ED as their judicial custody was “not extended” on September 10.

The couple, in their applications, had said they are “not in custody” in this case and granting their fresh custody will “tantamount to fresh arrest” and will lead to “severe agony and injustice” to them.

The ED had registered a money laundering case against the couple for allegedly receiving money from a Swiss arms-dealing firm to keep it out of the Indian government’s blacklist.

Verma and his wife, in their separate pleas, had said although they were scheduled to be produced before the court on September 10, the ED “did not take any step” to ensure their presence for extension of judicial custody

ED gets four days custody of Verma and his wife

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) was on Thursday allowed by a Delhi court to take into their custody businessman Abhishek Verma and his wife for four days to quiz them for their alleged role in a money laundering case.

Verma and his Romanian wife Anca Maria Neascu, arrested by the ED yesterday in connection with the case, were produced before the court which remanded them to its custody till August 27 after the agency said that the case is having “wide international ramifications” and the probe is going on.

The ED told the court that it was the only competent authority to investigate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 and that the duo’s custodial interrogation was necessary to know the magnitude of the offence committed by them.

“…thus keeping in view all the allegations on accused persons, the accused persons are remanded to the custody of the department for the period of four days,” Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Gautam Manan said.

During the arguments, ED’s prosecutor Naveen Kumar Matta sought seven days custody of both the accused saying that the probe in the case is in progress.

“From the investigations conducted so far, there has emerged a prima facie case of violation of provisions of the PMLA of a very large magnitude having wide international ramifications involving a number of persons/entities including both the accused/suspects. These investigations are still in progress,” the ED, in its remand application, said.

ED said Verma and his wife were involved in the offences of PMLA of very high magnitude “running into crores of rupees”.

The ED had registered a money laundering case against the couple for allegedly receiving money from a Swiss defence firm to keep it out of the Indian government’s blacklist.

Jharkhand money laundering case accused seeks bail

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Jharkhand government on a petition by an accused seeking bail in a money laundering case in which former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda is the main accused.

The vacation bench of the apex court headed by Justice Deepak Verma and comprising Justice K S Radhakrishnan issued notice after senior counsel R Venkataramani told the court that his client, Vikas Kumar Sinha, was being kept in incarceration since November 6, 2009 even though all the investigations against him were complete.

The senior counsel told the court that the petitioner was not being released because investigation against the main accused Koda was not complete.

Assailing the stand of the prosecution agency, the senior counsel said that the case against Sinha had nothing to do with the pending investigations against Koda as the complaint filed by the state against the petitioner does not name Koda as one of the accused.

He said that the rejection of Sinha’s bail application both by the trial court and the high court violated Article 21 of the constitution, guaranteeing the protection of life and liberty of the citizens.

During the hearing, the court wanted to know in what way the “accused was connected to the former chief minister”.

The senior counsel for the petitioner said: “I have no connection with the chief Minister. I was a visitor to the chief minister’s office.”

At this, Justice Verma said: “So you are a middleman.”

The petitioner’s counsel said the entire case, including a vigilance case and the prosecution story, was based on newspaper reports.

The senior counsel said that the petitioner could not be tried under those provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act that were incorporated in the Act after the alleged commissioning of the offence.

The prosecution of the petitioner under the new provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act was in breach of the Article 20(2) of the constitution, he said.

The article says that “no person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of the law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence…,” he said.