New Delhi [India], August 16 (ANI): Delhi High Court on Monday sought responses of Enforcement Directorate (ED) on two applications moved by Avantha Group promoter, Gautam Thapar arrested in an alleged bank loan fraud case, challenging the grounds of his arrest and also seeking a copy of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered against him.
The Bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna asked the ED to file a counter affidavit in the matter and deferred the matter for August 27.
The petitions contend that Thapar's arrest is illegal, as he was not produced before the Court within the mandated 24 hours and requests a copy of the ECIR, the grounds of arrest and the checklist prepared before the arrest of the Petitioner.
Meanwhile, the trial court has sent Thapar to judicial custody, the ED submitted an application to the Court requesting that the same be done.
Businessman Gautam Thapar was represented by Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, briefed by a team from Karanjawala & Co, led by Sandeep Kapur etc.
Thapar was presented before Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court through video conferencing on the expiry of his 10-day custody.
ED had arrested Avantha Group promoter Gautam Thapar in a money laundering case following searches at multiple locations in Delhi and Mumbai. On August 5, Thapar was remanded to a 10-day ED custody.
An ECIR has been registered against Gautam Thapar, Avantha Realty Ltd., Oyster Buildwell Pvt. Ltd. and others, alleging criminal breach of trust, cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery for diversion/misappropriation of public money during the period 2017 to 2019.
Earlier, Advocate Vijay Aggarwal submitted before the Court that his client was in fact the victim in the matter and that the entire transaction had taken place in view of the intention of Yes Bank to have evergreening of loans. Advocate Aggarwal stressed that an email had been received by the Avantha Group from Yes Bank, wherein the entire documentations that were to be executed and the transactions that had to take place were forced upon the Group.
ED told the Delhi Court that "Investigation revealed that approximately Rs 500.11 crores proceeds of crime, were laundered through Oyster Buildwell Pvt Ltd (OBPL), Jhabua Power Limited (JPL), Jhabua Power Investment Ltd. (JPIL), Avantha Power and Infrastructure Ltd (APIL), Avantha Realty Ltd. (ARL) etc. which are being controlled and beneficially owned directly or indirectly by Gautam Thapar."
The prosecutor further told the court that the probe disclosed that sham agreements were made by these entities to fraudulently obtain huge amounts running into more than Rs 500 crores from Yes Bank and further by different modes of layering the tainted amount was laundered and the loan account thus turned NPA causing a loss of huge public money.
"The facts have been provided by one of the present directors of the company and confirmed by two other directors," said ED.
ED had said that there is material evidence and reasons to believe that Gautam Thapar is guilty of the offence of money laundering as per Section 3 punishable under section 4 of the PMLA, adding that Thapar is involved in the laundering of proceeds of crime and has been involved in projecting the proceeds of crime as untainted.
During the course of the investigation, searches were conducted on premises belonging to Gautam Thapar and the entities associated with him.
"The statement of Gautam Thapar was recorded in the instant ECIR in which he did not cooperate with the investigation on three different occasions i.e July 24, July 27, and August 3 and deliberately failed to divulge the crucial facts regarding his involvement in the instant loan, his coordination and involvement with earlier Yes Bank management, the details of overseas companies/trusts/bank accounts/properties owned by him and his family which are actually required for further investigation," added by ED.
"The case is having international ramifications involving Proceeds of Crime stashed outside the country in form of immovable properties and bank accounts which is to be unearthed," the agency said. (ANI)