File Status Report On Reasons For Attachment Of Property And Continued Arrest: Delhi HC Directs ED In Ratul Puri's Bail Plea
Delhi High Court has asked the Enforcement Directorate to file a status report in response to a plea filed by Ratul Puri challenging the trial court's order which cancelled his anticipatory bail.
Appearing for the Petitioner, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi made the following submissions before the court in order to challenge the trial court's order:
- There are three tests to deny bail namely tampering of evidence, flight risk and suppression of documents/interference with witnesses. The facts of the present case doesn't meet the requirements of any of these tests
- The Petitioner is neither named in the original complaint nor in the four subsequent complaints filed under the PMLA Act. He's named in the last supplementary complaint filed on 23/05/2019 and therein also he's not mentioned as an accused. The complaint only states that there's an ongoing investigation against him.
- The subject matter of the case involves the punishment of imprisonment up to 7 years. Therefore, as per law laid down in Arnesh Kumar, it doesn't meet the gravity threshold
- The Petitioner has not been provided with a copy of his statements made under section 50. These statements do not incriminate the Petitioner provided they're properly recorded.
- The case of the ED is based on the statements of Rajiv Saxena who's a co-accused in the case and whose statements they themselves deemed unreliable while arguing for the cancellation of his bail
- The property of the Petitioner's company has been wrongfully attached after passing of the trial court order by invoking the Benami Act
- Petitioner has submitted that he has always appeared before the investigative authorities for questioning whenever he was called. There's no need for custodial interrogation.
- Unlike section 41A of CrPC, Section 19 of PMLA provides a much higher threshold for the court to justify arrest as it stipulates the reasoning to be based on prima facie assumption of actual 'guilt and not mere suspicion.
- State has termed the Petitioner as non-cooperative because he did not give a confession during the investigation which was desired by the state
The counsel for the Enforcement Directorate argued that no confession was desired from the Petitioner and his properties were attached by the Income Tax department and not by the ED.
The court asked the Enforcement Directorate to file a status report mentioning the following:
- which authority attached the properties of the Petitioner
- What is the role played by the Petitioner in money laundering and why is he required to be put in custody?
- Developments made after the denial of bail
The next date of the hearing is scheduled to be on August 20.
Advocate Aman Lekhi appeared for ED.