Stating that continuing pre-trial incarceration will amount to a deprivation of personal liberty as well as a travesty of justice, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted bail to a money laundering case accused, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), for alleged Rs 3,269 crore financial irregularity at Shakti Bhog Foods Ltd.
Granting bail to chartered accountant Raman Bhuraria on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and one surety of the like amount subject to certain conditions like not leaving the country and joining the investigation, a single judge bench of Justice Jasmeet Singh observed that a prima facie case for his release was made out.
"The period of incarceration, as well as the delay in the investigation along with absence of any reliable material which directly involved the applicant, justifies a prima facie release on bail," the court said.
Justice Singh said: "Without completion of the investigation, no charges can be framed, nor can trial begin. If this court allows the continuing pre-trial incarceration, the same will amount to a deprivation of personal liberty as well as a travesty of justice as the same is equivalent to punishment without trial."
"The only substantial evidence which is produced are the statements under Section 50 PMLA which too have been retracted. These statements under Section 50 PMLA do not, in my opinion, prima facie establish that the applicant was the mastermind of the whole operation."
The agency, which arrested Bhuraria in August 2021 based on a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR that charged the firm and its promoters with criminal misconduct, criminal conspiracy, and cheating, had opposed his bail plea stating that the accused was the kingpin in the case.
( 300 Words)