Thursday, April 18, 2024

Bhushan Steel money laundering case: Delhi HC issues notice on ED plea challenging bail granted to accused

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New Delhi | April 3, 2024 1:57:30 AM IST
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice in a plea of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) challenging bail granted to a woman accused in the Bhushan Steel Money Laundering case.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma issued notice and listed the matter for further hearing in July. Special Counsel Zoheb Hossain appeared for ED.

The agency has challenged the order granting bail to Archana Ajay Mittal on medical grounds.

On February 14, The Rouse Avenue Court granted her bail in the Bhushan Steel Limited (BSL) Money Laundering case. She was arrested in January 2024.

It was alleged by the ED that accused Archana entered into a criminal conspiracy with her husband Ajay S. Mittal and ex-promoters of BSL and mortgaged properties held by associate companies of BSL and raised loans to the extent of Rs 35 crore from an NBFC Edelweiss and this amount was transferred by her husband to accused Ritu Singal.

The trial court had granted bail to Archana Ajay Mittal after considering her medical condition and the provision related to granting bail to women accused under PMLA.

The Court had granted bail to Archana Ajay Mittal subject to conditions including furnishing a bail bond of Rs 10 lakh and one surety bond in the like amount.

Special Court had said that the accused Archana Ajay Mittal is a woman aged about 56 years and her case comes within the ambit of proviso attached to section 45 of the Act if the triple test and other parameters for granting the bail are applied then it is a fit case where she canbe enlarged on bail.

The Court had said, "Further, the medical documents placed on record would prima facie be sufficient to conclude that the accused Archana Ajay Mittal is suffering from various ailments and she is not keeping good health."

"Even if the treatment for such ailments is available in the jail or the medical facilities attached to the jail, still it would not be a ground to reject the bail application because the bail sought on medical grounds is in addition to the other grounds as noted herein above," Special Judge Goel held in the order passed on February 14, 2024.

The ED has already filed the complaint on August 8, 2023, against around 76 accused persons.

"A careful examination of the said complaint would reveal that the allegations made against the present accused Archana Ajay Mittal were there even at that time and the same have been incorporated in the said complaint but surprisingly the present accused was not made an accused in the said original complaint," the court observed.

The allegations against the accused Archana Ajay Mittal is that she had received an amount of Rs 45 crores during the financial year 2012-2013 from co-accused Brij Bhushan Singal which was diverted from the proceeds of crime i.e. from the coffers of the Bhushan Steel Limited (BSL).

It was also alleged that the accused had further received an amount of Rs 5 crore during the financial year 2013-2014 from another co-accused namely Neeraj Singal which was also diverted from the coffers of BSL.

It is also stated that during the investigation, it was revealed that the husband of the present accused namely Ajay S. Mittal, presently in JC and her son Ananya Mittal had received an amount of Rs 40 crores from Brij Bhushan Singal and Neeraj Singal.

During the investigation, it was revealed that an amount of Rs 20 crores out of the aforesaid Rs 42 crores originated from the coffers of BSL making the total proceeds of crime making a total of Rs 70 crores.

It is the allegations of the ED that erstwhile M/S Bhushan Steel Limited (BSL) had obtained loans from various banks and financial institutions and as of March 31, 2017, the outstanding liability was Rs 46,646.73 crores.

It was alleged that co-accused persons Brij Bhushan Singal and Neeraj Singal, who were the promoters and Directors of the said company created more than 150 companies and haddiverted the funds in different forms from BSL and Bhushan Energy Limited (BEL) into several associate companies.

According to the ED, the siphoning of funds of BSL was achieved by the ex-promoters of BSL with the active involvement and assistance of the present accused.

It was stated by the counsel for accused that the she was in custody of the ED duringthe period 10.1.2024 to 16.1.2024 and thereafter she is in judicial custody. The accused is neither a Director nor a promoter member nor an employee of the said Bhushan Steel Limited.

ED has already filed the complaint on August 8 2023. The accused was not named in the said complaint. (ANI)

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