New Delhi: Robert Vadra, who is an accused in a money laundering case, Tuesday moved a Delhi court seeking permission to travel abroad.
The counsel for Vadra requested Special judge Arvind Kumar to ensure details of his itinerary are not shared with a third party as it was a matter of his security.
The counsel also requested the plea be taken up on May 24 as the lead counsel was not available for arguments today.
Vadra, facing investigation in a money laundering case, was directed on April 1 not to leave the country without prior permission by a court here which had granted him anticipatory bail while imposing several other conditions.
Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, is facing allegations of money laundering in purchase of a London-based property at 12, Bryanston Square worth 1.9 million pounds.
A Delhi court today issued fresh directions to attach the properties of businessman Vijay Mallya, who was declared a proclaimed offender for evading summons in a money laundering case related to FERA violations.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat issued the order after advocate N K Matta, the special public prosecutor appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), told the court that the agency had not received any reply from the authorities responsible for the attachment.
The court took Matta’s submission on record and posted the matter for further hearing on July 5.
The court had on March 27 directed the attachment through the Police Commissioner, Bengaluru, and had sought a report by today regarding the compliance of the order.
The order was passed on an application moved by the ED seeking attachment of Mallya’s properties.
The court had on January 4 declared Mallya a proclaimed offender for evading summons in a FERA violation case after noting that he failed to appear before it despite repeated summonses.
It had on April 12 last year issued an open-ended non-bailable warrant against the liquor baron. Unlike a non-bailable warrant, an ‘open-ended NBW’ does not carry a time limit for execution.
On November 4, 2016, while issuing a non-bailable warrant against Mallya, the court had observed he had no inclination to return and had scant regard for the law of the land.
It had said that “coercive process has to be initiated against Mallya” as he was facing proceedings in several cases ad avoiding appearance in those matters.
The court had also held that Mallya’s plea that he wanted to return to India but was “incapacitated” to travel as his passport had been revoked by the Indian authorities was “malafide” and “abuse of the process of law”.
Mallya, who is reportedly in London, had on September 9 submitted before the court that he was “incapacitated” to travel despite “best intentions” as his passport had been revoked.
The court had on July 9 cancelled the exemption from personal appearance granted to Mallya on an application of the ED and directed him to appear before it on September 9. The exemption was granted to Mallya in December 2000.
The anti-money laundering agency had issued summons to the businessman in connection with the alleged payment of USD 200,000 to a British firm for displaying Kingfisher logo during the Formula One World Championships in London and some European countries in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
It had claimed that the money was allegedly paid without prior approval of the RBI in violation of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) norms.
According to the ED, Mallya was summoned on four occasions for questioning in connection with the contract signed in December, 1995 with London-based firm Benetton Formula Ltd for the promotion of the Kingfisher brand abroad.
When Mallya failed to appear before the ED in response to the summons, a complaint was filed on March 8, 2000 before a court here and later charges were framed against him under the FERA Act.
Mallya, who had fled to the UK in March 2016, is also wanted in India for Kingfisher Airlines’ default on loans worth nearly Rs 9,000 crore and some other matters.
The ED today issued summons for appearance to billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi and his business partner Mehul Choksi in connection with its money laundering probe in the Rs 11,400 crore alleged fraud in Punjab National Bank (PNB), officials said.
They said both Modi and Choksi were summoned under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and asked to depose within a week’s time.
The notices were handed over to the directors of the firms of the two businessmen as they were not in the country.
While Modi runs the jewellery brand chain under his name, Choksie is the promoter of Gitanjali Gems.
The ED had registered a PMLA case against them and others based on a CBI FIR which was the result of a PNB complaint.
The ED yesterday carried out multiple raids on showrooms, workshops, offices and residences of Modi and Choksi and seized diamonds, jewellery and gold worth Rs 5,100 crore.
The agency was probing if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and these proceeds of crime subsequently used by the accused to create illegal assets and black money.
Modi, 46, a regular feature on the lists of rich and famous Indians since 2013, was booked by the CBI, along with wife, brother and Choksi on January 31, for allegedly cheating the state-run PNB to the tune of Rs 280 crore.
The bank has sent two more complaints to the CBI on Tuesday, saying the scam was worth more than Rs 11,400 crore.
The CBI had earlier raided the residences of Modi, his brother, wife and Choksi, all partners of Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds and two bank officials — Gokulnath Shetty (now retired) and Manoj Kharat, who were also named in the FIR as accused.
“The public servants committed abuse of official position to cause pecuniary advantage to Diamond R US, Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and a wrongful loss of Rs 280.70 crore to Punjab National Bank during 2017,” the CBI FIR has alleged.
The jewellery designer is a citizen of the country but his brother Nishal and wife Ami are not Indian nationals. They all left India between January 1 and 6, the CBI said.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a second charge sheet against RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s daughter Misa Bharti and her husband in a money laundering case before a Delhi court, which today kept both charge sheets for consideration on February 5.
Irked over the repeated filing of charge sheets by the ED in connection with its money laundering probe against Bharti and her husband Shailesh Kumar, Special Judge N K Malhotra berated the agency for not letting the trial begin.
“Will you let the trial begin or keep filing complaints? How many supplementary charge sheets will you file? You are a premier investigating agency. You cannot behave like this. It is an ill-drafted complaint,” the judge said.
The court, which could not take cognisance of the charge sheet filed on December 23, 2017 against Bharti and Kumar, posted the matter for February 5 for considering both the charge sheets after ED special counsel Atul Tripathi sought time to make further submissions in the matter.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, representing chartered accountant Rajesh Agrawal, who was also arrested by the ED in connection with the case, sought adjournment citing pendency of bail plea of brothers Surendra Kumar Jain and Virendra Jain, who have been accused of laundering crores of rupees using shell companies.
Rajesh Agrawal was arrested by the ED following allegations that he mediated and provided Rs 90 lakh in cash to the Jain brothers in advance to invest in Bharti’s firm Ms Mishail Packers and Printers Pvt Ltd “as share premium”.
The probe agency had earlier attached a Delhi farmhouse in connection with its probe against Bharti and her husband.
The farmhouse, located at 26, Palam Farms in south Delhi’s Bijwasan area was attached provisionally under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
It belongs to Bharti and Kumar and is “held in the name of Ms Mishail Packers and Printers Private Limited”, the central probe agency had said.
“It was purchased using Rs 1.2 crore involved in money laundering in the year 2008-09,” it had alleged.
The agency had in July last year raided several locations, including the farmhouse, as part of its probe against the Jain brothers and others.
The Jain brothers were arrested by the ED under the PMLA.
One of the firms that the arrested duo were linked with was Ms Mishail Printers and Packers Private Limited.
The ED had alleged that Bharti and her husband had served as directors of this firm in the past.
“The company, Ms Mishail Packers and Printers, was registered at the address 25, Tuglak Road, New Delhi till the shares were bought by Bharti.
“It was only during the year 2009-10 that the address was changed to farm no 26 Palam Farms, VPO Bijwasan, New Delhi.
Bharti and Kumar were the directors of the company during the relevant period,” the probe agency had said.
The couple were also interrogated and their statements were recorded by the agency in this probe case.
The agency said the Jain brothers, CA Agrawal and the daughter and the son-in-law of the former Bihar chief minister were the “key persons behind the money laundering of Rs 1.2 crore”.
Controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi was today granted bail by a Delhi court in a money laundering case.
Special judge Arun Bharadwaj, who had reserved the order on Qureshi’s application on December 4, gave him the relief on a personal bond of Rs two lakh and a surety of a like amount.
The Enforcement Directorate had earlier this month opposed the bail plea of Qureshi, saying he could hamper the ongoing investigation, after which the court had reserved its verdict.
ED special counsel N K Matta had alleged that Qureshi, arrested on August 25, should not be granted the relief as the allegations levelled against him were grave and there were chances that he may flee from justice if enlarged on bail.
In his bail application, the accused had told the court that no purpose would be served by keeping him in further custody.
He had said that the probe in the case was over and he was not required further by the ED.
The ED had earlier claimed in the court that “the witnesses have confirmed in their statements that they have delivered crores of rupees for Qureshi and his associates through his employees….”
The agency had also alleged that Qureshi was involved in hawala transactions through Delhi-based hawala operators Parvez Ali of Turkman Gate and M/s South Delhi Money Changer (DAMINI) in Greater Kailash-1.
According to the agency, Qureshi was arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) a he was “not cooperating in the probe”.
Alleged hawala dealer Mohammad Aslam Wani, arrested in a case involving Kashmiri separatist Shabir Shah, today moved a Delhi court for bail.
Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma, who had on November 17 denied the relief to Wani in the decade-old case, sought a response from Enforcement Directorate (ED), asking it to file a reply by November 27.
The application said the court had denied the bail while applying the rigour of Section 45 (1) of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), a stringent condition for securing bail.
As per Section 45 of the Act, a person accused of an offence punishable for a term of three years imprisonment could be granted bail only if the Public Prosecutor was given an opportunity to oppose the application for release.
The provision also says that bail could be granted only if the court was satisfied that there were reasonable grounds for believing that the person is not guilty of such offence or that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail.
The Supreme Court yesterday struck down the condition saying it was “manifestly arbitrary” and “unconstitutional” as it drastically intruded into the fundamental rights of the accused.
“Since the section has been declared unconstitutional, the present application is being filed in view of this changed circumstance,” the application, filed today by advocate M S Khan, said.
The trial court had denied bail to the accused while terming the alleged offence as “grave and serious”.
The fresh application filed today submitted that a 2010 trial court judgement clearing Wani of terror funding charges in 2005 case, based on which the current money laundering case was lodged in 2007, was confirmed by the Delhi High Court on October 31.
“The effect of confirmation of acquittal of the applicant (Wani) is that there is no material left to connect him with the co-accused (Shah) as it was not proved that money was recovered or was meant to be used for any illegal purpose (hawala),” the plea said.
The ED had in September filed a charge sheet against Wani and Shah, whose bail application in the case was also dismissed on August 22.
Wani was arrested by the ED from Srinagar on August 6 with the help of the state police and is currently in judicial custody. Shabir Shah was arrested by the agency from Srinagar on July 26.
The ED action against the two was in pursuance of an August 2005 case in which the Delhi Police’s Special Cell had arrested Wani, who is alleged to have claimed he had passed on Rs 2.25 crore to Shah.
In 2010, a Delhi court had cleared Wani of terror funding charges but convicted him under the Arms Act. The ED had registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against Shah and Wani.
On August 26, 2005, Wani was apprehended with the ED claiming Rs 63 lakh was recovered from him. It was also alleged that the funds were received through hawala channels from the Middle East, along with a large cache of ammunition.
A Delhi-based businessman was today sent to a four-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) by a court here in connection with the note ban money laundering probe against lawyer Rohit Tandon and others.
Additional Sessions Judge R K Tripathi extended the ED custody of Yogesh Mittal, a resident of Model Town area, till June 13.
“The matter is pending investigation. Considering the submission of the ED, the custody of the accused is granted for a further period of four days and he is to be produced in court on June 13,” the judge said.
Mittal was produced before the court on expiry of his three-day ED custody.
During the hearing, the ED sought 10 days custody of the accused, saying it has seized several mobiles, laptops and other electronic devices and needs time to examine them.
The investigating officer said he could confront only two suspicious account holders with Mittal due to paucity of time and several other such account holders are yet to be covered.
This irked the court which questioned the probe agency why only two persons were confronted in the given time.
“That means you were not doing your role properly,” the court said adding, “Transperancy must be there.”
To this, the ED responded by providing the court with its documents and statements recorded.
Advocate Vikas Garg, appearing for the probe agency, said, “We need to examine the bank accounts of more than five persons. Four account holders need to be confronted with the accused. They have been served with summons.”
The counsel, appearing for Mittal, opposed the agency’s plea seeking further custody of the accused, saying all the documnents are with the ED already.
“Investigation has been going on for the last seven months. Already three accused are in judicial custody and two are on bail. Charge sheet has already been filed,” advocate Sanjay Sharma, appearing for the accused, told the court.
The ED had arrested Mittal on June 5 for his alleged role in a case of illegal conversion of demonetised currency worth Rs 51 crore in “connivance” with Tandon, a suspended Kotak Mahindra bank manager, and another person who acted as entry operator or illegal fund router.
The ED had alleged that Mittal was “instrumental in picking up the demonetised cash of Tandon during the period of November 14-19 last year and deposited it in various bank accounts of shell companies.”
He was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
“It was conspiracy among Kamal Jain, Tandon’s CA, Mittal, Ashish Kumar (ex-bank manager), Raj Kumar Goel (entry operator) and others that demonetised currency would be collected and deposited in various accounts of the firms which have huge cash in hand and from those accounts demand drafts (DDs) in fictitious names would be issued.
“Later, these DDs would be cancelled to get the money back into the accounts, thus converting the demonetised currency into monetised currency,” the agency said in a statement.
The currency notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 were demonetised after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s national address in this regard on November 8 last year.
The ED took over the case and registered an FIR under PMLA after taking cognisance of Delhi Police Crime Branch FIR on alleged fake accounts with deposits of Rs 34 crore.
The agency has attached, under PMLA law, assets (DDs) worth Rs 41.65 crore in this case.
Under the PMLA, the offence of money laundering is punishable with imprisonment ranging between three and seven years.
The Delhi High Court today denied bail to LIC agent Anand Chauhan in a money laundering case involving Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and others.
“I have dismissed this petition (bail application),” Justice Vipin Sanghi said.
Chauhan is in judicial custody since his arrest in July last year.
During the hearing on his bail plea earlier, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had claimed that there was ample evidence against him and there was serious apprehension that he could tamper with evidence if released on bail.
The accused had approached the high court challenging the trial court’s August 20 last year order dismissing his bail plea, saying there was “more than sufficient material” to show his involvement in the alleged offence.
The ED had alleged that Virbhadra Singh had “invested huge amount in purchasing LIC policies in his own name and his family members through Chauhan.”
Chauhan was arrested from Chandigarh on July 9, 2016 under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act after the ED alleged that he was not cooperating with the probe.
Chauhan had sought bail on the ground that the case against him was documentary in nature and there was no need to keep him in custody. He had claimed of having joined and cooperated with the agency in the ongoing probe.
In a separate case, Virbhadra Singh and his wife were on March 31 charge sheeted by the CBI in a special court here in a disproportionate assets case after the High Court refused to quash FIR against them and lifted the stay on their arrest.
A special court has fixed January 12 for scrutiny of documents in a money laundering case involving Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in which LIC agent Anand Chauhan has been chargesheeted.
“Put up the matter for scrutiny of documents on January 12, 2017,” Special Judge Vinod Kumar said.
The court also allowed Chauhan, who is in judicial custody, to file a “proper application” seeking certain documents which have allegedly not been supplied by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
“The advocate for accused (Chauhan) submits that on scrutiny it is found that some documents are yet to be supplied by the prosecution (ED) and an adjournment is sought on the ground that the accused will move a proper application in this regard. I allow the request,” the judge said.
The court had on September 7 last year taken cognisance on the charge sheet filed against Chauhan,, while asking ED to provide him a copy of the final report and other documents.
The charge sheet was filed for offences under sections 3 (money-laundering) and 4 (punishment for the offence) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Act.
Chauhan was arrested from Chandigarh on July 9 last year under the provisions of PMLA on the grounds that he was allegedly not cooperating with the probe.