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ED moves Delhi HC seeking set aside of trial court bail order to Businessman Sanjay Rai

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate has moved to Delhi High Court, challenging the trial court order that granted bail to businessman Sanjay Prakash Rai, alias Sanjay Sherpuria, in a money laundering case and seeking direction to set aside the trial court order dated March 23, 2024.
The bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri, in an order passed on May 31, 2024, issued notice to the businessman Sanjay Prakash Rai and fixed the matter for a detailed hearing on October 14, 2024.
Advocates Nitesh Rana and Deepak Nagar appeared for the businessman and accepted the notice.
ED, through a plea, stated that the impugned order is liable to be set aside on the sole ground that the Special Court while passing the impugned order, has erroneously observed that since the respondent, Sanjay Prakash Rai, has been granted bail in the predicate offence, the same is a key factor for consideration of the bail application under PMLA and granting bail to the accused respondent on this basis.
It is very well settled that the investigation into the offence of money laundering is independent of the investigation conducted by the predicate agency, said the ED to the Delhi High Court.
Recently, Trial Court's Additional Sessions Judge Chander Jit Singh stated that in the present matter, no material has been produced to show or indicate that the accused is a flight risk or that the accused or his family member have attempted to contact any witness, which may be a parameter to evaluate whether the accused shall influence the witness or not. There has to be some material on record to at least indicate such a tendency in the accused. In the absence of any such material on record, it shall be concluded that the accused has been able to satisfy the triple test as well.
Before the trial court, appearing for Sanjay Rai, Advocate Nitesh Rana and Advocate Deepak Nagar submitted that it is beyond the comprehension of any law as to how the ED has the competent jurisdiction to investigate the offence of money laundering that allegedly occurred in Uttar Pradesh. As per the FIR, which is a scheduled offence registered in Lucknow, no evidence suggests that any part of the Proceeds of the Crime has travelled to Delhi.
Earlier, while challenging the ED's chargesheet, lawyers stated that the present investigation in the impugned ECIR also amounts to 'Double Jeopardy' as the same cause of action is already being investigated by the respondent at Lucknow Zone.
It was submitted that the same cause of action and the same Proceeds of Crime are being investigated at two different places by the Respondent for the offence of money laundering; such exercise by the Respondent is a direct violation of Article 20 sub-clause (2) of the Constitution of India, 1949.
According to the plea, the Special Task Force from Vibhuti Khand Police Station, Lucknow, allegedly based on certain purported intelligence information, arrested Sanjay Prakash Rai, the petitioner, on April 25, 2023, from Kanpur Railway Station.
Thereafter, ED registered a case for the offence of money laundering under PMLA, 2002, under sections 3 & 4. The respondent agency invoked the provision of Section 19 and arrested Sanjay Prakash Rai on May 24, 2023.
According to the ED's Prosecution Complaint, Sanjay Prakash Rai has received Rs. 12 crore as proceeds of crime.
Out of Rs. 12 crore, Rs. 6 crore was received in YREF from Dalmia Office Trust and Rs. 6 crore in cash from Gaurav Dalmia.
ED further alleged that he also cheated Mohit Singh MD of Shipra Estate Ltd. for Rs. 1 crore in lieu of helping to get him good deals in the sale of lands in Lucknow; Rs. 1 crore from Naveen Kumar Malhotra by gaining his trust and influencing him by showing connections with the senior politicians, he could bring him favours; and Rs. 51,50,000 from Sunil Chand Goyal on false promise that he will help him in the business expansion. As per the allegations, Sanjay Prakash Rai claimed to have close links with senior politicians' bureaucrats and the Prime Minister, and he accumulated a total of Rs 14.51 crore in proceeds of crime.

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