Supertech innovator given bail; court notes insufficiency of evidence

By Bricksnwall | 2024-06-07

Supertech innovator given bail; court notes insufficiency of evidence

The Delhi court ruled on Thursday that the promoter of Supertech satisfies both the triple test under the CrPC and the twin requirements for bail under the PMLA.

Ram Kishor Arora, the promoter of Supertech, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in June 2023 in relation to a money laundering case. A Delhi court granted Arora bail on Thursday, stating that Arora could show reasonable grounds to believe he is not guilty and is unlikely to commit any offence while on bail.

Arora was granted relief on Thursday after the Delhi court determined that he satisfied both the triple test under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the twin requirements for release under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Additional Sessions Judge Devender Kumar Jangala declared, "Taking into account all the facts and circumstances of the case, the applicant/accused Ram Kishor Arora is admitted to bail on furnishing a bail bond in the sum of Rs. 1,00,000/-with two sureties in the like amount."


On August 26, 2023, the ED filed a charge sheet against Arora and nine other individuals, claiming that Supertech had improperly directed the proceeds of crime, totaling ₹638.93 crore, which it had obtained from bank loans and homebuyers, to its group companies for the purchase of real estate and businesses with less valuable land, resulting in illicit gains.


The federal agency's case against Arora was founded on many first information reports (FIRs) alleging that he defrauded homebuyers, which were submitted by the Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh police forces' economic offences wings (EOWs).


As it granted him bail, the court pointed out that settlements had resulted in the quashing of three FIRs against Arora and the absence of coercive orders in eight cases. There are very few unanswered FIRs, and Arora stated that he is in the midst of reaching agreements with the remaining buyers.


The judge's order stated, "The fact that three FIRs were quashed due to settlement, that no coercive order or protection was granted to the applicant/accused in eight cases due to settlement with the home buyers, and that there was talk of settlement in the remaining FIRs, is definitely a relevant factor to be considered at the time of considering bail to the applicant/accused."


It was also noted that when the charge sheet was presented, the federal agency raised the sum to ₹697 crore from the ₹228 crore that the ED had originally alleged to be proceeds of crime.


In the financial years 2012–15, Arora's company had reserves and surplus of more than ₹600 crore, which Arora's legal team brought forth as evidence that the ED had diverted funds from homebuyers.

The ED did not refute this claim, the judge observed.


Arora also offered justifications for the money transfers to affiliate firms, which the federal agency claimed were done for personal benefit. "A certificate from a chartered accountant and bank statements verify the applicant's or accused's explanations. The court noted the lack of criminal intent by stating, "Therefore, the transfer of funds by the applicant/accused company, from net profit, intra-company loans, and corporate loans, appears plausible."


The court also rejected the assertion made by ED that Arora's company's bank and financial institution loans were misappropriated and turned into non-performing assets. It pointed out that the banks had not filed any FIRs, and that the ED's claims were outside of its purview in the absence of a listed offence.


In summary, the court determined that Arora met the PMLA's dual requirements. It further stated that Arora complied with the CrPC's triple test for bail because he has strong social links, did not abuse his interim bail, and the case evidence is documentary, lowering the possibility of witness influence or tampering.

Source: HindustanTimes

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