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Bail plea of Chinese national held in hawala transactions, money laundering case dismissed

ANI | Updated: Mar 27, 2021 12:50 IST

By Sushil Batra
New Delhi [India], March 27 (ANI): Delhi's Patiala House Court has dismissed the regular bail petition of a Chinese national allegedly involved in siphoning off a huge amount of money through a web of shell companies by Hawala transaction.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana in an order passed on March 25 said, "Considering the seriousness of allegations and enormity of charge, I am of the considered opinion that the instant application is bereft of any merits and the same is accordingly dismissed."
The Court also noted that the material available on record also suggests that the applicant/accused in active association with the co-accused persons was involved in siphoning off a huge amount of money through a web of shell companies.
According to the Enforcement Directorate, Li Zhenghua, alias Cartar Lee, along with his associate Luo Sang alias Charlie Peng was found to be involved in the offence of money laundering and was arrested on January 15, 2021, in the present case.

He was working as a translator and Chief Operating Officer of the companies of co-accused Charlie Peng for almost three years and he continued to work with him even after his arrest by Special Cell in September 2018 which clearly shows that he was well aware of the illegal activities of co-accused Charlie Peng and assisted him in hawala transactions and money laundering in India, submitted ED counsel Mohd Faraz.
The ED counsel further submitted that the accused was also party to capital co-operation agreements and agreements of borrowing executed in China and seized by the Income Tax department from the office of co-accused Charlie Peng wherein he provided his Chinese bank account used for transfer of RMB's in Chinese bank account against the transfer of amount in Indian currency in the bank accounts of Indian firms thereby bypassing the formal channel of investment in India.
Advocate Aditya Soni, counsel for accused Cartar Lee, said he has been falsely implicated in the present FIR and he is languishing in judicial custody since January 16, 2021. He also submitted that the present case originates from two FIRs of Special Cell and in the said FIR, the applicant is not the accused which forms the basis of alleged scheduled offences under the PMLA.
"Since the applicant is not named in both the FIRs, the arrest of Cartar Lee is illegal and unwarranted. The complaint in the instant matter has already been filed and trial in the instant matter is likely to consume considerable time and no fruitful purpose would be served by keeping him behind the bars. The accused is facing racial discrimination being a Chinese national and severe health issues are cropping up affecting the accused while being in custody. It is thus prayed that he may be released on bail," Soni told the court.
Advocate Soni also submitted that accused Li Zhenghua alias Cartar Lee (33) is a Chinese national and he has done his MBA from Osmania University, Hyderabad (2009-2012) and after completing MBA, he set up two companies in China and Thailand and in order to expand his business, the accused also established two companies in India.
He also said that the accused is the Director of both the companies and till date, there are no complaints pending against the said two companies and both the companies are working under all statutory laws of India.
The Court noted that there is sufficient material available on record to suggest that the accused was one of the prime associates of the kingpin Charlie Peng, who admittedly neither knew English or Hindi, actively engaged in the offence of money laundering. (ANI)