State

Delhi Court sends Supertech’s chairman RK Arora to judicial custody till July 24

New Delhi [India]: Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Monday sent Supertech’s Chairman RK Arora to Judicial Custody till July 24, 2023.

He was recently arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case and was on ED remand. On Monday, RK Arora was presented before Delhi’s Patiala House Court’s judge Additional Sessions Judge Devender Kumar Jangala after his remand period.

During the hearing, the Court noted that an application filed on behalf of the accused seeking a copy of the grounds of arrest is pending. A reply to said application has been filed by ED.

It’s submitted by the accused’s counsel that in the absence of grounds of arrest given to the accused, the accused is not able to move an effective bail application. Application to be heard on 13th July at 2 pm.

Earlier while sending Arora to ED remand, Court said that “The power to seek remand is essentially a part of the power of arrest and to investigate in respect to the commission of the alleged offence of money laundering and this power has necessarily to be inferred with the help of above Section as Section 65 of the PMLA, 2002 does not prohibit remand of an accused under the said act to ED custody”.

“Therefore, I have no hesitation in stating that the ED remand of an accused can be granted by this Court. Thus, in view of the above background, this Court is, prima facie, convinced that the arrest of the accused in this case is justified and ED has also powers to seek custody of the accused for their further examination and interrogation,” had said ASJ Devender Kumar Jangala.

The court also said that when it comes to the power of the ED officers to seek ED custody of the accused, it had observed that though Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) does not confer any specific power in this regard, this power has to be inferred with the help of provisions contained in Section 65 of the PMLA, 2002 and Section 167 of CrPC as Section 65 of the PMLA provides that the provisions of CrPC shall apply, in so far as they are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, to arrest, search and seizure, attachment, confiscation, investigation, prosecution and all other proceedings.

“It is contended on behalf of the accused that the present ECIR was registered in the year 2021 and the applicant has been repeatedly examined by the investigating agency after completion of the investigation provisional attachment order dated April 11, 2023 has been issued and hence there was no requirement of arrest. The issuance of provisional attachment order by the competent authority does not mean that the investigation qua the offences defined under Section 3 punishable under Section 4 of PMLA has been completed,” the court noted.

It has been specifically stated by the ED that the investigation for the commission of an offence punishable under Section 3/4 of PMLA is not yet complete, therefore the Enforcement Directorate is justified to seek custody of the applicant/accused, the court said.

However, the court had earlier directed that his interrogation shall be conducted at some place having CCTV coverage in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court and also in accordance with all the other applicable rules, directions and guidelines on the subject and the said CCTV footage shall be preserved.

The court permitted the accused to meet his Advocates for half an hour daily between 6 pm to 7 pm during the said period of his ED custody in a manner that the ED officials cannot hear their conversations and carry with him the necessary medicines as per prescription. However, the request for homemade food is declined by the court.

Earlier, it apprised the court that 26 FIRS were registered by EOW, Delhi Police; Haryana Police and UP Police against Supertech Limited and its group companies under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with 406(criminal breach of trust)/420 (cheating)/467/471 IPC having allegations of cheating atleast 670 home buyers for an amount of Rs. 164 Crores. ED also alleged that the amount collected by Supertech Ltd. was diverted to their group companies for the purchase of properties and the company with the land having much lesser value.

ED alleged that the accused persons have acquired properties, and made illegal/wrongful gain arising out of the said proceeds of crime by involving, indulging and commissioning criminal activities related to scheduled offences. It is stated that the prima facie case for the commission of an offence punishable under Section 3 punishable under Section 4 of the PML Act has been made out.

Arora’s defence lawyer RK Handoo opposed the plea and submitted that his client has been illegally arrested and no grounds of arrest have been furnished.

He also apprised the court that the present ECIR was registered in the year 2021 and the applicant has been repeatedly examined by the investigating agency and after completion of the investigation provisional attachment order dated April 11, 2023, has been issued. That once the investigation has already been completed, therefore was no requirement for arrest, the defence lawyer said.

He further submitted that the offences of the Enforcement Directorate are not the police officers, under law, therefore, the Enforcement Directorate is not entitled to custody remand of the applicant/accused.

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