By LE Desk
New Delhi, April 5: In connection with a money laundering case related to the alleged ₹3,600-crore VVIP chopper scam, a Delhi court has granted bail to businessman Anoop Kumar Gupta on Monday.
Special Judge Arvind Kumar has granted relief to the accused, adding that the probe will take time to complete and he has been in custody since January 29 this year.
The accused, through his firms, had committed the offence of money laundering in proceeds of crime amounting to USD 24,624,298, according to the Enforcement Directorate’s allegations.
“The accused is admitted to bail on his furnishing personal bond in the sum of ₹5 lakh with two sureties of the like amount with further conditions that the accused shall not tamper with evidence and shall not try to contact or influence the witnesses..,” the Delhi court said, the Mint reported.
The court further directed Gupta to join the investigation as and when called by the investigating officer, and not to leave India without the permission of the court.
The Delhi court noted that the supplementary complaint against Gupta had already been filed.
The court noted that the ED had called the accused to join the probe and the accused has joined the investigation since 16 December, 2018, on different dates.
It further observed that the documents had already been recovered and the statements of witnesses had already been filed before the court with charge sheets and supplementary charge sheets in the case.
“It is not the case of ED that further recovery is to be made from the accused. Even otherwise if the accused, at any stage, is required for investigation, he can be called to join the investigation.
“The correctness or otherwise of the allegations as to whether the accused has received and laundered the said money, can only be looked into during the course of trial,” the court said.
It further observed that the several other co-accused, having similar or greater role than the present one, had already been enlarged on bail.
“Some of the co-accused have not been arrested by ED at all, and complaint (ED’s equivalent to a charge sheet) and supplementary complaints have been filed against these accused persons without arrest,” it said, noting that Gupta was not an accused in the CBI case registered in relation to the related matter.
ED’s contention that the accused may tamper with the evidence was rejected by the court, which noted that the present case was based mainly on documentary evidence and banking transactions and the documents had already been seized by the ED.
The court noted that the accused was 62 years of age and had roots in society, therefore, ED’s contention he may abscond did not appear to have much substance.
The court also noted that the accused was suffering from a number of diseases and is under treatment.
The ED claimed that Gupta, the director of KRBL Limited that manufactures India Gate basmati rice, was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the AgustaWestland VVIP choppers case, after he allegedly did not cooperate in the ongoing probe.
The ED slapped money laundering charges in the case following allegations of irregularities in the now-cancelled deal to purchase of 12 VVIP choppers from Italy-based Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland. The deal was scrapped by India in 2014.
It was submitted by the ED that IDS Tunisia has received proceeds of crime to the tune of Euro 24.37 million from Agusta Westland and the proceeds of crime were further transferred to Interstellar Technologies Limited, Mauritius, and part of the proceeds received in RAKGT (Rawasi Al Khaleej General Trading LLC, Dubai) were further transferred to KRBL Limited.
Gupta was the joint Managing Director of KRBL Limited.