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"Speaks Volumes About Malafide Intent": Delhi Court Sends Gurugram-Based Ambience Mall Owner To ED Remand Till August 5 In Money Laundering Case

Nupur Thapliyal
30 July 2021 6:02 AM GMT
Speaks Volumes About Malafide Intent: Delhi Court Sends Gurugram-Based Ambience Mall Owner To ED Remand Till August 5 In Money Laundering Case
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A Delhi Court on Thursday sent Raj Singh Gehlot, owner of the Gurugram-based Ambience Mall to Enforcement Directorate's remand till August 5 in connection with a money laundering case for allegedly siphoning off the loan amount and diverting funds while entering into a criminal conspiracy.Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana observed that the material available on record suggested...

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A Delhi Court on Thursday sent Raj Singh Gehlot, owner of the Gurugram-based Ambience Mall to Enforcement Directorate's remand till August 5 in connection with a money laundering case for allegedly siphoning off the loan amount and diverting funds while entering into a criminal conspiracy.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana observed that the material available on record suggested that Gehlot entered into a criminal conspiracy with other accused persons to fraudulently siphon off the loan amount by diverting the funds for the purposes other than for what it was released.

A loan was allegedly sanctioned to M/s AHPL by a consortium of banks led by J&K Bank, Ansal Plaza, Delhi for construction of a hotel. Gehlot was accused of siphoning off the money in connivance of bank officials through a web of shell companies and his associates.

It was therefore alleged that Gehlot entered into a criminal conspiracy with other accused persons to fraudulently siphon off the loan amount by diverting the funds for other purposes such as to settle the loan of other group companies and making Fixed Deposit as well as diversion of materials to other projects of the Ambience Group. 

Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa and Advocate Tanveer Ahmad Mir appeared for Gehlot while Advocate Amit Mahajan, standing counsel for the Central Government and Naveen Kumar Matta, Special Public Prosecutor appeared for the ED.

"The material available on record not only suggests the siphoning off the funds, fraudulently obtained by the accused in connivance with the bank officials, but also alludes to its placement, layering and integration." The Court said.

"The material available on record suggests that accused entered into a criminal conspiracy with other accused persons to fraudulently siphon off the loan amount by diverting the funds for the purposes other than for what it was released. The money so siphoned off by him, as a result of criminal conspiracy qualifies it as 'proceeds of crime."

The ED had therefore prayed for 14 days judicial custody by arguing that the custody is required in order to unearth the other beneficiaries and that Gehlot needs to be confronted with the data extracted from digital devices recovered from his possession.

On the other hand, Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa appearing on behalf of Gehlot submitted that no offence of money laundering was made out in the case as the hotel had been duly constructed by Gehlot out of the impugned loan amount and that he can explained the spending of the said amount.

It was also submitted that no complaint in the matter was lodged by banks as they were not aggrieved and that Gehlot was sincere in his approach to repay the outstanding loan amount. Furthermore, it was submitted that grounds of arrest were absolutely flimsy and superfluous and that no case was made out against Gehlot.

"Further, against the outstanding liability of Rs.289.28 crores, the bank officials attempted to settle the account with accused for a paltry sum of Rs.128.94 crores which speaks volumes about the malafide intent." The Court observed.

"Concept of locus standi is alien to criminal law. I concur with the Ld. SPP that the bank officials being involved and arraigned as co-accused with the present accused in predicate offence, for obvious reasons, would not come forward to lodge a complaint and thus no fault could be found with the ED for initiation of investigation in the instant matter."

Accordingly, Gehlot was sent to ED's custody till August 5.

Title: Directorate of Enforcement v. Raj Singh Gehlot

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