A court here on Thursday dismissed the bail application of Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai, arrested in a money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam, saying his role was more serious than that of some other accused who are still in jail.
Denying the relief to Pillai, Special Judge M K Nagpal said, “This court is prima facie of the view that there is a genuine case made out by the investigating agency before this court showing active involvement of the applicant in commission of the alleged offence of money laundering and thus, this court is not able to arrive at any finding contrary to the said view.”
The court also rejected the submission made by Pillai’s counsel that his arrest in the case was not legal or justified, saying the evidence and material collected during the investigation “speaks volumes of his involvement in commission of the alleged offence of money laundering and his association with the other conspirators”.
“Moreover, the regular bail applications of various other co-accused in this case, namely Sameer Mahandru, Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally, Benoy Babu, P Sarath Chandra Reddy, Raghav Magunta and Manish Sisodia, stand already dismissed by this court and the role of this applicant in commission of the alleged offence of money laundering is found to be more serious and grave than the role played by some of the above co-accused,” the judge said.
Pillai was not only a participant in the “conspiracy” but prima facie, he was also found to have been connected with different activities related to the proceeds, including its concealment, possession, acquisition or use and projecting it as untainted property, he said.
Further, the court said the evidence collected against Pillai prima facie showed that he had indulged in these activities or became a party thereto fully knowing the nature of and intents behind these activities.
“From the evidence placed on record, he is prima facie found to have been involved as a member in the above criminal conspiracy and also connected with criminal activities of the said case relating to generation of proceeds of crime of that case,” the court said.
It said the vital and active role played by Pillai in the above conspiracy, formation of cartel and payment as well as repayment of kickbacks is duly evident through multiple statements made not only by Pillai himself but other accused persons as well, including Dinesh Arora, an accused-turned-approver in the related corruption case being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) since September 2022.
The judge also rejected an argument by Pillai’s counsel that his client had retracted his statements saying, “The manner and circumstances under which the said retraction is stated to have been made prima facie suggest that it was the result of some afterthought or undue influence.” The ED had claimed in its charge sheet filed in the case that Pillai was a close associate of Bharat Rashtra Samithi MLC K Kavitha.
The ED’s money laundering case stems from the CBI FIR.
According to the CBI and the ED, irregularities were committed while modifying the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 and undue favours were extended to licence holders.
The Delhi government had implemented the excise policy on November 17, 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)