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Supreme Court grants protection from arrest to Raghav Bahl in money laundering case

The bench comprising Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli issued notice and directed that no coercive steps be taken against Bahl.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to grant interim protection from arrest to media baron Raghav Bahl in the money laundering case against him. The bench comprising Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli issued notice and directed that no coercive steps be taken against Bahl.

The Apex Court court took note of submissions made by Bahl’s counsel Senior Advocate Vikas Singh.
The bench was hearing a special leave petition filed by Bahl against the Delhi High Court’s order refusing to pass any order of interim protection in his petition seeking the quashing of the money laundering case against him. Earlier, on December 3, the Delhi High Court had asked the Enforcement Directorate by issuing notice, to respond to Bahl’s petition seeking quashing of the money laundering case against him.

Bahl’s petition in the high court had claimed that since he had done no wrong, the ongoing inquiry under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act of 2002 without any substantive basis has a deleterious effect on his business and reputation. The Delhi High Court had refused to grant him interim protection.

The Enforcement Directorate had pursued the case against him following a complaint of the Income Tax department over the purchase of a flat in London.

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The I-T Department had initiated proceedings against the Bahl under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act of 2015 for alleged irregularities in the returns filed for assessment year 2018-2019.

Enforcement Directorate counsel Amit Mahajan had said in the high court that no coercive action against Bahl was taken by the agency and he would be now called once a week from now on. Bahl’s lawyer had stated that after re-filing the income tax return for 2018-19, it was cleared by assessing authorities and, therefore, money laundering proceedings cannot be allowed to go on against Bahl.

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