Supreme Court to Review Bail Plea of Former Bhushan Steel Promoter Neeraj Singal in Major Money Laundering Case

The Supreme Court of India has agreed to hear the bail plea of Neeraj Singal, former promoter and ex-Managing Director of Bhushan Steel, in connection with a money laundering case tied to an alleged bank fraud totaling Rs 46,000 crore. The case has significant implications due to the magnitude of the alleged fraud and its impact on public funds.

Justices Manoj Misra and SVN Bhatti, forming the bench, have issued a notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), directing it to respond within three weeks to Singal’s application. This move comes after the Delhi High Court dismissed Singal’s bail plea and a petition challenging his arrest by the ED earlier this year.

During proceedings, the high court maintained that the Supreme Court’s requirement for providing the grounds of arrest in writing at the time of arrest was established after Singal was already in custody, thereby upholding the legality of his arrest. The court acknowledged that oral communication of the arrest grounds was deemed sufficient under Section 19(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Singal was arrested on June 9, 2023, and has since contested the ED’s actions, claiming a breach of legal protocol as he was not properly informed about the reasons for his arrest. However, the high court dismissed this argument, stating that the absence of signatures on each page of the arrest document did not undermine its existence or the fact that the grounds were communicated to Singal.

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The Enforcement Directorate, in its defense, argued before the high court that Singal was central to one of the largest banking frauds in the country, involving money laundering activities that purportedly siphoned off over Rs 46,000 crore of public money. According to the ED, Singal and other accused parties orchestrated a sophisticated scheme involving the acquisition of fraudulent loans under the guise of Bhushan Steel and its group companies, laundering these funds through an extensive network of over 150 companies.

This case highlights not only the significant legal challenges involved but also the broader implications for corporate governance and financial integrity in India’s banking sector.

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