The Delhi High Court on Friday granted bail to a man employed in M/s Hassad Netherland’s, accused in a case for alleged involvement in Money Laundering of Rs. 1000 crores under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
A single-judge bench of Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar has noted, “twin conditions mentioned in Section 45 of the PML Act continue to be struck down as being unconstitutional in view of the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Nikesh Tarachand Shah vs. Union of India (2018) 11 SCC 1. The amendment in Section 45 by the Finance Act 2018 is only with respect to substituting the term offence punishable for 3 years with offence under this Act. The said amendment does not revive the twin conditions already struck down by the aforesaid judgment.”
“Since the twin conditions for bail in section 45 of the PML Act have been struck down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the same are neither revived nor resurrected by the Amending Act, therefore, as of today, there is no rigor of said two conditions under original Section 45(l)(ii) of the PML Act for releasing the Petitioner on bail. The provisions of section 439 of CrPC and the conditions therein will only apply in the case of the Petitioner for grant of bail,” said the Court while granting bail.
The Court has also noted, “at the stage of granting bail, a detailed examination of evidence and elaborate documentation of the merits of the case should be avoided, so that no party should have the impression that his case has been prejudiced.”
It said, “There is no hard and fast rule regarding grant or refusal to grant bail. Each case has to be considered on the facts and circumstances of each case and on its own merits.”
The court has pronounced its decision on the petition filed by Sai Chandrasekhar, an employee of M/s Hassad Netherland seeking bail in an alleged offence under PMLA for his alleged involvement in a huge account fraud of approximately Rs. 1000 crore.
The Enforcement Directorate had alleged that being an employee of the complainant company Chandrasekhar was aware of the ground realities and despite that he induced the complainant to invest Rs. 750 Crores in M/s Bush Foods Overseas Pvt. Ltd. by purchasing its 69.5% shares. Whereas, Chandrasekhar received a kickback of about Rs. 20 cores, out of which 7 crores have been identified.
The Counsel appearing for the ED submitted that the present case involves the commission of the grave economic offence of laundering of the proceeds of crime.
The Counsel appearing for Chandrasekhar submitted that pursuant to the investigation already stands filed and the investigation qua the petitioner is complete, whereas, in the predicate offence, the charge sheet, and supplementary charge sheet also stands filed.
However, the bench noted that “petitioner in the instant case is in custody since 27.10.2020. Nothing has been placed on record to show that the petitioner is a flight risk… As far as the question of tampering is concerned, the evidence is documentary in nature and the documents and digital evidence is in the custody of the prosecuting agency.”
In furtherance to its observations, the bench allowed bail to Chandrasekhar on his furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs. 1,00,000/- with one surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of the Ld. Trial Court and has further directed him not to leave the country without the permission of the Special Court.