Money laundering case: Businessman Vijay Nair moves HC challenging dismissal of default bail

 Businessman and Aam Aadmi Party’s communication in-charge Vijay Nair Monday approached the Delhi High Court seeking default bail in a money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.

The plea had to come up for hearing before Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma, who was not holding the court today, and it has now been listed for August 10.

Nair, who was arrested on November 13, 2022, has challenged the trial court’s July 29 order dismissing his default bail plea.

While arguing on the bail application, Nair’s counsel had contended before the trial court that the supplementary prosecution complaint (charge sheet) was filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) within the statutory period of 60 days of arrest but without actual completion of the investigation with regard to him.

Hence, the supplementary prosecution complaint was a piecemeal and incomplete charge sheet filed to defeat the right of an accused to be released on default bail, the counsel had argued.

The ED had opposed the plea on the ground of maintainability and said Nair had already raised the argument of piecemeal or incomplete charge sheet before the high court in his previous bail application.

The trial court had dismissed the petition, saying it was not the competent or appropriate forum to consider the ground of default bail to the accused, and the appropriate course would be to approach the same judge or bench of the high court, which had earlier dismissed his bail plea, with a request for consideration of the point.

Earlier, the high court had on July 3 refused to grant bail to Nair and other co-accused in the money laundering case, including former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

The money laundering case stems from a CBI FIR which was lodged after Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the new excise policy in 2021 which was later scrapped.

The CBI has alleged that Nair met the other co-accused and liquor manufacturers as well as distributors at various hotels in Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi for arranging “ill-gotten money through hawala operators”.

It has also claimed that businessman and co-accused Abhishek Boinpally was part of the meetings and involved in the conspiracy to launder money along with another accused liquor businessman Sameer Mahendru.

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The ED had raided nearly three dozen locations in Delhi and Punjab following the arrest of Mahendru, the managing director of liquor distributor Indospirit Group, which is based in Delhi’s Jor Bagh.

The other accused in the case are Manish Sisodia, former excise commissioner Arva Gopi Krishna, ex-deputy commissioner in the excise department Anand Tiwari and former assistant commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar.

According to the CBI and ED, irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy and undue favours were extended to the licence holders.

The Delhi government had implemented the excise policy on November 17, 2021, but scrapped it at the end of September 2022 amid allegations of corruption.

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