The Special Court, CBI, Rouse Avenue, New Delhi on Tuesday granted bail to Rajiv Aggarwal, Chartered Accountant, who was arrested on September 17, 2021, in relation to a money laundering case of ₹ 7979.30 crores relating to alleged loan fraud, which was registered by Enforcement Directorate in the year 2019.
Special Judge Sanjay Garg while granting bail to Rajiv Aggarwal said that in the present case, the applicant has already spent about 95 days in custody. The offence alleged against him is punishable with imprisonment up to seven years.
Since further investigation in the case is underway, there is no likelihood of commencement of trial in near future. The applicant can not be left to languish in custody for an indefinite period.
“Though it is alleged against the applicant that the money laundered by him is of huge magnitude but it needs little emphasis that the case set up by the prosecution against the applicant can only be tested during the course of trial. The case is primarily based on documentary evidence and voluminous record has already been seized by the investigating agency. The applicant has a permanent abode in India. It is a matter of record that he had joined an investigation on numerous occasions even prior to his arrest. Considering the same, it does not seem that there is any likelihood of his fleeing from justice,” the Court said.
Rajiv Aggarwal’s counsels, Vijay Aggarwal and Advocate Ayush Jindal argued before the Court that the applicant has been arrested despite duly joining investigation on various occasions since the year 2019 and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has taken stand since the year 2019 that further investigation is still pending, despite two supplementary complaints in the present case has been filed.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal also pointed out that several companies that have been made accused in the present case are based in the foreign jurisdiction and that the commencement of trial would take considerable time.
Advocate Aggarwal argued that any diary or loose sheets or emails seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are not admissible in evidence as the same are not books of accounts in terms of Section 34 of Indian Evidence Act, and grant of bail shall also enable the applicant/accused to better prepare for the trial.
Earlier, the Court had expressed its opinion that Section 45 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is in operation while adjudicating upon the bail application of a co-accused in the same matter in view of the judgment passed by Supreme Court in the case of Satender Kumar Antil.
However, the Supreme Court recently on December 16, 2021, has given its clarification on the said judgment stating that the intention of the Supreme Court while passing the said judgment was not to restrict the scope of bail but was rather to enlarge it and further clarified that Section 45 has been inadvertently mentioned in the Category ‘C’ where the Court had laid down provisions containing stringent provisions for bail.