Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Delhi court dismisses bizman Arun Pillai’s bail plea in excise policy case

A Delhi court on Thursday dismissed the bail application of Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandra Pillai, accused in a money laundering case related to the alleged excise policy scam.

Special judge M. K. Nagpal of Rouse Avenue Court denied Pillai relief, stating that his involvement in the matter was more serious than that of some other accused who are still incarcerated.

“This court is prima facie of the view that there is a genuine case made out by the investigating agency before this court showing active involvement of the applicant in commission of the alleged offence of money laundering and thus, this court is not able to arrive at any finding contrary to the said view,” he said.

The court stated that the evidence and material collected during the investigation speaks volumes of his involvement in commission of the alleged offence of money laundering and his association with the other conspirators.

Pillai’s counsel argued that his client’s arrest in the case was not legal or justified.

The judge, rejecting the submission, said that the regular bail applications of other co-accused in this case — Sameer Mahendru, Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally, Benoy Babu, P. Sarath Chandra Reddy, Raghav Magunta, and Manish Sisodia — stand already dismissed by this court and the role of this applicant in commission of the alleged offence of money laundering is found to be more serious and grave than the role played by some of the above co-accused.

Pillai was not only involved in mere conspiracy, but based on initial evidence, he was also linked to various actions concerning the proceeds. These actions involved hiding, owning, obtaining, or utilising the proceeds and presenting them as legitimate assets, he added.

Moreover, the court stated that the evidence gathered against Pillai indicated, on the surface, that he willingly participated in these activities and was fully aware of their nature and intentions.

It also highlighted that Pillai played a significant and active role in the conspiracy, the formation of a cartel, and the payment and repayment of kickbacks.

This conclusion was based on multiple statements provided not only by Pillai himself but also by other accused individuals, including Dinesh Arora, who is an accused-turned-approver in a related corruption case.

In addition, the judge dismissed an argument put forth by Pillai’s counsel regarding the retraction of his statements.

The judge expressed doubts about the circumstances and manner in which the retraction was made, suggesting that it appeared to be an afterthought or influenced by external factors.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had arrested Pillai on March 6 after questioning him for hours in connection with the case.

The agency named the cartel ‘South Group’, and it allegedly includes BRS leader K. Kavitha; Sarath Reddy, the promoter of Aurobindo Pharma; YSRCP MP from Ongole Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy; his son Raghav Magunta and others.

The South Group was represented by Pillai, Abhishek Boinpally and Babu, the agency claimed.

20230608-213003

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