Delhi Court Grants Bail To Supertech Promoter In 700 Crore Money Laundering Case

The order was passed in the third bail application preferred by the accused under Section 439 of the CrPC read with Section 45 of PMLA

The Patiala House Court in Delhi granted bail to Ram Kishor Arora, accused in a money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate. Arora was in custody since July 2023.

The order was passed in the third bail application preferred by the accused under Section 439 of the CrPC read with Section 45 of PMLA.

The allegations against the accused – applicant pertained to cheating of more than 800 homebuyers for Rs. 700 crores. It was alleged that M/s Supertech Ltd. and its promoter Ram Kishor Arora hatched criminal conspiracy to cheat the prospective home buyers of their advance against booked flats in his real estate projects.

The case was argued by Adv. Tanveer Ahmed Mir, Adv. Yash Dutt, Adv. Kartik Venu, Adv. Shashwat Sarin, Adv. Aaraiana Ahluwalia, Adv. Vaibhav Suri.

It was argued on behalf of the accused that during the years 2012-2015, the balance sheets of the company were duly audited by Chartered Accountant and the ED had nowhere averred that the balance sheets were manipulated or inconsistent. It was further submitted that the predicate offence involved was of civil nature as it pertained to breach of builder buyer agreement.

It was also submitted that statements of home buyers recorded under Section 50 of PMLA were not germane to the case.

The ED, on the other hand, argued that the applicant had miserably failed to pass the twin test of bail under Section 45 of the PMLA.

The Court observed that the possession of unaccounted property acquired by legal means may be actionable for tax violations but it will not be regarded as ‘proceeds of crime’ unless it constitutes an offence specially in the schedule of the PMLA.

The Court further observed that the offence in the 26 FIRs registered against the applicant accused was predominantly of a civil nature. It was also stated that out of the 26 FIRs, the accused had already got 3 of them quashed and obtained a no coercive order in 9 of them.

The Court held that the allegations could not be substantiated as the ED had only relied upon the FIRs whose chargesheets had also not been filed. The Court also reasoned that the fact that most of the FIRs were in the talks of settlement, it was relevant for consideration while adjudicating whether bail should be granted as without schedule offence, PMLA case will not survive.

The Court concluded that the applicant – accused had been successful in satisfying the twin conditions and was therefore entitled to bail.

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