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Sep 15, 2017 07:35 PM IST | Source: PTI

HC seeks CA's reply on ED's plea to cancel bail in PMLA case

Justice A K Pathak issued notice to CA Rajesh Agarwal on ED's plea seeking to set aside a trial court order

The Delhi High Court today sought the response of a chartered accountant, accused in a money laundering case and alleged to having links with RJD chief Lalu Prasad's daughter Misha Bharti, on Enforcement Directorate's plea seeking cancellation of his bail.

Justice A K Pathak issued notice to CA Rajesh Agarwal on ED's plea seeking to set aside a trial court order granting him bail, saying he is allegedly involved in several money laundering matters.

The court listed the matter for further proceedings on January 8, 2018.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the ED, argued that Agarwal was laundering money for various other persons and his track record was different.

He also told the court that the ED was probing a separate graft case regarding the alleged role of Misha Bharti, with whom Agarwal is suspected to have had links.

The agency sought to set aside the trial court's bail order by challenged its legality.

The ED has claimed that Agarwal was associated with some transactions involving a firm, allegedly linked to Misha Bharti, which is under the scanner for suspected tax evasion.

Agarwal, who was arrested on May 23 in connection with a Rs 8,000 crore money laundering racket allegedly involving two Delhi-based brothers, was granted bail by the trial court here on September 4, noting that no purpose would be served by keeping him in custody.

The case had emerged after the ED had filed a criminal complaint in February this year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

It was based on a charge sheet filed by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office against certain individuals and firms "for providing accommodation entries by accepting funds from their beneficiaries through mediators and converting the same into share premium transactions in the beneficiary company".

The ED claimed that the entire racket could be worth about Rs 8,000 crore of slush funds.

In July, ED has filed a charge sheet in the case against various accused including Agarwal but it does not make Lalu's daughter an accused. However, the document contains her name.

The ED had recently raided the farmhouses of Bharti and her husband in Delhi in relation to the case being probed against Agarwal, two Delhi-based businessmen brothers -- Surendra Kumar Jain and Virendra Jain -- and others, who are alleged to have laundered money using over 90 shell companies.

Besides Agarwal and Jain brothers, the charge sheet includes the names of around 35 people and the firms as accused.

ED had also claimed that Agarwal was instrumental in providing accommodation entries to many high-profile people and political entities to help launder their funds. These include those being probed by the Income Tax Department in a Rs 1,000 crore dubious land deal case.

Agarwal was allegedly involved in routing funds for the Jain brothers, arrested by the agency in the Rs 8,000 crore money laundering racket allegedly being run through shell companies, the agency has said.

The ED had in May filed a charge sheet against the Jain brothers. It had also attached agricultural land worth Rs 1.12 crore belonging to them in Bhatti village in the National Capital Region.

With this, the total amount of property attached so far in the case amounts to Rs 65.82 crore.

The ED claimed it has identified at least 90 shell firms in this case, including 26 of them for allegedly laundering about Rs 62.20 crore. Shell companies are non-trading firms, often listed on a stock exchange, as a vehicle either to raise funds before starting operations or attempt a takeover or to act as a front for illegal business, as per the Business Dictionary.
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