January 25, 2021

Bombay HC rejects Rana Kapoor’s plea for bail in ED case

Bombay HC rejects Rana Kapoor's plea for bail in ED case


MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Monday rejected Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor’s plea for liberty in a money laundering case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The agency said it apprehended that he would sell off his properties once released, frustrating the ongoing probe. Kapoor claiming his “innocence’’ argued that bail is the norm that cannot be denied on the grounds that investigating is still on.
Justice P D Naik pronounced the rejection of Kapoor’s bail application. The reasoned order will be available later.
Kapoor’s bail plea filed through advocate Subhash said no case of laundering is made out against the Bank’s founder.
Kapoor was arrested on March 8, 2020. He is presently in Taloja jail.
The ED said Kapoor conspired with Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan of Dewan Housing and Finance Ltd (DHFL) to illegally sanction loans “and received kickbacks” in a case where “proceeds of crime (POC) involved is to the extent of Rs 5O5O crores.’’
The Wadhawan brothers, Dheeraj (42) and Kapil (46) were arrested last April for their alleged involvement in a case where the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said the Yes Bank had invested Rs 3,700-crore in a short-term debenture of DHFL between April and June 2018, and in lieu Kapoor allegedly gave a kickback to the Wadhawans.The ED said Rs 600 crore was received by Doit Urban ventures Pvt Ltd (DUVPL) from DHFL.
Kapoor’s bail petition said “Rs 600 crore was not a kickback” nor proceeds of crime but a “genuine loan.”
But the ED through its counsel Hiten Venegaonkar had refuted Kapoor’s contention, saying DUVPL is “beneficially owned by Rana Kapoor through his three daughters.’’
Senior counsel Harish Salve and Mahesh Jethmalani had last Tuesday at the virtual hearing, argued that POC alleged for Kapoor cannot be Rs 5050 crore and that the fear of ED of him selling off his properties was unfounded as the agency has attached his properties which are worth more than the alleged ‘kickback’ of Rs 600 crore.
The ED reply to his bail plea had said, “Rana Kapoor has siphoned off huge amount of POC out of lndia through his family group owned or controlled companies. lt has been found during the investigation that out of proceeds of crime of 600 crores, Rs. 378 crores have been invested overseas.’’The ED said probe is still on to unearth the “exact layering of proceeds of crime”.
Kapoor’s counsel had relied on the supreme Court Judgment in P Chidambaram’s case which said pre-arrest bail too can be granted in economic offences.
But the ED counsel said reliance on the judgment “is misplaced’’ as the facts in the Yes Bank case are distinguishable.
The ED is probing the case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The agency had said, “Rana Kapoor is one of the main accused person in this case.’’ It said, as the Managing Director and CEO of Yes Bank during the relevant period Kapoor “misused his official position to gain undue financial benefit for him and his family members and associates. He has been found to be involved into bribery and money- laundering activities.’’
“In view of these facts with no stretch of imagination’’ can Kapoor be considered “ a law abiding Citizen, innocent or a respectable person’’, the ED reply had said.



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