New Delhi [India], Feb 15 (ANI): A Delhi court on Friday reserved for February 19 its order on the bail plea of lawyer-businessman Gautam Khaitan, who was sent to judicial custody in a black money and money laundering case.
The order was reserved Patiala House court Special Court Judge Arvind Kumar.
Khaitan, an accused in the AgustaWestland case, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the case. Later, Khaitan moved a bail petition after which the court had sought a reply from the ED till February 15.
The ED opposed the bail plea of Khaitan and said, "As far as the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) is concerned, there is a prosecution complaint in this. We have read laundering of money. There is no question of retrospectivity as it remains a continuing Act."
The agency said, "During the investigation in the past 14-20 days, we have come up with three more accounts which have never been mentioned before. He is a master launderer on a pretext of a law firm and a repeat offender."
It said, "Khaitan's income tax accounts and bank details are in variances. There is an apparent attempt to hide his foreign accounts used for laundering of money."
The ED claimed, "Half of the money laundering of this country is done through this man. He is at the centre of the controversy. Any money coming from Dubai and Mauritius is through him. There are details which he denied but we have established the proof."
Appearing for Khaitan in the court, senior advocate Siddhartha Luthra said, "How can my client be prosecuted under the Act when the accounts in question as per the Income Tax department are closed. What is the justification of arresting him under the PMLA? The Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) has been denied to me. How cleverly the issue of search has not been mentioned. The ED went through everything, file, documents, computers. The dates of transaction have still not found anything. This is a case of malicious and unjustified arrest."
He submitted, "This court has seen my conduct. There has been no violation of the conditions and there has been no contempt against me. If conduct is to be seen then the difference between my conduct and the Department's conduct is apparent. This is punitive detention and not a legally justified detention. Retrospectivity is not accepted in the criminal law."
On February 9, a Delhi court had granted six days custodial interrogation of Khaitan to the ED in the case.
A few weeks back, the Income Tax department sleuths had raided the offices and various other properties in Delhi-NCR belonging to Khaitan.
The I-T department has claimed to have gathered evidence against Khaitan for allegedly receiving kickbacks in other defence deals too, besides AgustaWestland during the UPA tenure.
On the recommendation of the I-T department, the ED had registered a case against him under the Black Money Act.
Khaitan was in ED’s custody in connection with a case under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income) and Assets Act, 2015. (ANI)