A Delhi court has denied bail to a man in a money laundering case related to an alleged bank loan fraud, saying such “unscrupulous shenanigans” erode public trust and weaken the foundations of economy.
Dismissing Bharat Rana Chaudhary’s bail application, Special Judge Neelofer Abida Perveen termed the modus operandi used by him “sinister”, and said he was “prima facie” tampering with evidence and creating false evidence.
The ED claimed Chaudhary caused a loss of around Rs 30 crore to Punjab National Bank due to credit repayment default during 2010 to 2012.
“The allegations are exceedingly serious, the offence grave, not merely from the standpoint of the large volume of POC (proceeds of crime) involved, the modus operandi was so elaborate and sinister that accused adopting such devious designs succeeded in duping the bank multiple times siphoning of huge amounts of public money in the process, layering and re-routing the same to himself and gratifying other unsavoury elements and operations in the process,” the judge said.
She said there was no material placed before the court to record a prima facie satisfaction in favour of the accused he was not guilty of money laundering.
“It is indeed such unscrupulous shenanigans that erode public trust and weaken the foundations of the economy, and warrant for economic offences to be treated as a separate class unto itself,” the judge said.
She also noted the accused had failed to join investigation despite being summoned on numerous occasions and was shown to have been non-cooperative all along.
Also, the search at his premises lead to a seizure of documents indicating that these were in the process of being fabricated, the judge noted in an order passed on July 12.
“The end user of the POC (proceeds of crime), a substantial part is yet untraced and the possibility does not sound too baseless and farfetched of the accused tampering with evidence to evade the discovery of end user of POC that remains to be unearthed. That the accused is not likely to commit similar offence also is not satisfied in favour of the accused,” she said.
The accused had sought bail on the ground that the case was registered way back in 2015 and that he was arrested by the ED on February 14, 2023.
He claimed no purpose will be served by keeping him further custody since after completion of investigations, the charge sheet has already been filed in case.
The ED opposed the application, saying the arrest was made to prevent the tampering of evidence, influencing of witnesses, and the derailment of money laundering investigations.
It said there was enough evidence suggesting he was tampering with the evidence and creating false evidence to justify the transactions in his firm’s account.
According to the ED, Chaudhary with the help of others took a loan from Punjab National Bank on the basis of false, forged and fabricated valuable securities, fake identity documents, forged rental deeds, forged collateral security papers, fake audited balance sheets and other documents.
On the basis of forged and fabricated documents he took Cash Credit Facility in the name of different firms namely Surya Impex, Jupiter Trading and Four Season Agro Products Ltd/ Four Seasons Sortex Pvt Ltd during 2010 to 2011, and by way of fraudulent means he siphoned off the loan funds and never utilised the same in the business activity of these firms.
The ED claimed the accused caused a loss of over Rs 30 crore.