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Lawyer Rohit Tandon was the main conspirator: ED to court

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday opposed the bail plea of controversial lawyer Rohit Tandon, who is in jail for alleged seizure of Rs 13.6 crore cash from his law firm as part of an anti-black money probe, telling a court here that he was one of the main conspirators in the illegal conversion of nearly Rs 60 crore demonetised currency.

Seeking bail for Tandon, his counsel submitted before Additional Sessions Judge RK Tripathi that his client’s arrest was illegal and prima facie no offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was made out.

The court, however, listed the case for further arguments on January 7 while asking both the parties to give written submissions by then.

“Part arguments heard. (The matter) be listed for conclusion of arguments of both the parties on January 7. Summary of arguments in bullet points be furnished,” the judge said.

Opposing the bail plea of Tandon, ED’s counsel Vikas Garg submitted that the application was not maintainable as it was moved under section 439 (special powers of high court or sessions court regarding bail) of CrPC and not under the relevant section of PMLA.

He also argued that several bank accounts were used for depositing demonetised currency on the instruction of Tandon who connived with arrested accused and Kotak Mahindra bank manager Ashish Kumar and others for the alleged conversion at a commission of 35 per cent.

However, senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, appearing for Tandon, submitted that the accused has not cheated people as the government’s November 8 notification on demonetisation, had allowed depositing of any amount of money in bank accounts.

“As per the notification on behalf of the Ministry of Finance no penal provision has been mentioned in case a person has large denomination of currency in old notes. The said notification does not attract any criminal charges for holding old notes in huge denominations,” the counsel said.

He further said that there was no allegation against the accused in the FIR and he has fully cooperated in the probe even before he was arrested.

The ED counsel, however, referred to the recorded statement of Kumar and Tandon’s employee Dinesh Bhola in which they mentioned about having a meeting with Tandon and his firm’s CEO Kamal Jain after demonetisation to discuss how to convert demonetised currency into new ones.

The court had on January 2 sent Tandon to 14 days judicial custody along with Kumar and businessman Paras Lodha. 

During the last hearing, Tandon, who was arrested on December 29 following raids after the demonetisation of high-value currency, had moved applications seeking home cooked food and proper medicines in jail as he was suffering from thyroid problem and hypertension which were allowed by the court.

ED had earlier submitted that as per the FIR, Tandon knew about the details of persons involved in the alleged money laundering racket.

The agency suspected that Tandon was instrumental in the illegal conversion of demonetised currency of about Rs 60 crore in purported connivance with Lodha and Kumar.

Kumar was arrested on December 28 by ED in connection with its money laundering probe in a case of detection of nine alleged fake accounts with deposits of Rs 34 crore post demonetisation.

Tandon’s case pertains to an operation of Delhi Police’s Crime Branch and the Income Tax department earlier this month when they had allegedly seized Rs 13.6 crore, of which Rs 2.6 crore was in new currency, from the law firm that he is associated with.

ED had booked him under PMLA based on the police FIR.

The lawyer was earlier separately searched by the tax department where it was said that he had declared undisclosed income of over Rs 125 crore to the taxman. 

Source: Zee News