The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a bail plea by Avantha Group promoter Gautam Thapar in a Rs 500-crore money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri denied the relief to Gautam Thapar, who was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on August 3, 2021, after the agency carried out raids against him and his linked businesses in Delhi and Mumbai.
The detailed order of the high court is awaited.
The ED is probing an alleged transaction between Gautam Thapar’s company Avantha Realty and Yes Bank co-founder Rana Kapoor and his wife, who are already being investigated under PMLA by the agency.
The money laundering case was registered by the ED after taking cognisance of an FIR lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
In October last year, a trial court here had dismissed Gautam Thapar’s bail application, saying that since huge loss of public money was involved in the case, it needed to be viewed seriously.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the 60-year-old businessman, had argued that bail was wrongly rejected by the trial court only on the ground that he could be a flight risk.
“The trial court applied the triple test… Two tests (of possibility of evidence tampering and influencing witness) were held in my favour. But the third test of flight risk is against me… This cannot be a ground (as) my passport could have been deposited,” he had said.
Gautam Thapar was represented through Karanjawala and Company. While dismissing the bail application, the trial court had observed that there were allegations that proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 500 crore were generated in this case and were laundered and utilised in repayment of existing loans and meeting other expenses in conspiracy with the other accused persons arraigned in the complaint.
The trial court had accepted the arguments made by special public prosecutors that the chances of accused fleeing the country could not be ruled out.
Gautam Thapar, in his bail application, had claimed that he was not required for the investigation and that no purpose would be served by keeping him in further custody.
On October 1, 2021, the trial court had also taken cognisance of a charge sheet filed in the case against Gautam Thapar and 20 others.
The final report had alleged that the accused committed criminal breach of trust, cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery for diversion and misappropriation of public money from 2017 to 2019 and caused a loss to the tune of Rs 466.51 crore to Yes Bank.
On September 30, 2021, the high court had dismissed Gautam Thapar’s plea challenging his arrest on the ground that he was produced before the trial court after the expiry of mandated 24 hours.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)