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Bail Granted To Zenica Cars India Director Rashpal Singh Todd

The Court, in particular, took note of Senior Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey's argument wherein he had highlighted out that the accused had been appearing before this court and undertakes to appear continuously in future.

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Naveen Kumar Kashyap | Additional Sessions Judge

Rashpal Singh Todd and two others have been granted bail in a 300 crore money laundering case.

Todd, who runs a high end car dealership company, Zenica Cars India, with his father Mandhir Singh Todd had reportedly defaulted on loan and guarantee terms with banks. A case was registered against the father and son duo who were arrested in 2018 after the company’s balance sheet figures were alleged to be fabricated.

The present complaint invoking section 44 and 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) alleging commission of offense of money laundering as contemplated by section 3 r/w section 70 of PMLA has been filed by Directorate of Enforcement/complainant.

Accused were never arrested during investigation: Senior Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey

Senior Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey assisted by Samarjit Pattnaik, Partner Karanjawala  and Co; and Puneet Relan made compelling arguments during the courtroom hearing. In a nutshell, his contentions before the Sessions Court, can be crystallized as under:

1. The applicants deserve regular bail on the ground that during investigation they were never arrested.

Chargesheet is filed in present case also without arresting the accused persons, he said.

2. The Court vide its order in a previous order had categorically held that there does not exist any material on record that applicants are likely to threaten the witness or tamper with evidence.

3. Applicants joined the investigation as and when called by the investigating authority. 

Dubey called the arrests made by EoW as illegal and stated that the case of his clients is completely covered by precedents.

He reiterated that the conditions mentioned in Section 45 of PMLA Act are not attracted in the present case as the accused was not arrested before filing of the complaint by ED.

Accused failed to comply with terms of settlement with complainant bank: Counsel for ED

Special PP for ED opposed the regular bail application and stated that after considering facts and circumstances of the present case, the court was pleased to issue bailable warrants and not summons against accused the accused.

The arguments made by ED’s Counsel can be summed up as follows:

1. The application for anticipatory bail u/s 438 Cr.P.C., filed by the accused was dismissed vide a detailed reasoned order dated 11.06.2021. 

In any case there is a difference in criteria in law relating to anticipatory bail and regular bail and such anticipatory bail was rejected based on criteria relating to anticipatory bail, he said.  

2. Accused has failed to comply with the terms of settlement arrived with the complainant bank. 

3. Provisional attachment order is already passed in the present case, which also prima facie indicates involvement of all the accused including the present applicant in the present case do not deserve the benefit of regular bail.

Personal liberty a priceless treasure for human being says Court

After hearing arguments from both sides, the Court noted that personal liberty is a priceless treasure for a human being. 

It is founded on the bedrock of constitutional rights and accentuated further on human rights principle. The sanctity of liberty is the fulcrum of any civilized society. Deprivation of liberty of a person has an enormous impact on his mind as well as body, it said. 

Emphasising on the basic principles behind granting bail under law, the court stated that the object of bail is to secure the appearance of the accused person at his trial. 

The object of Bail is neither punitive nor preventive. Deprivation of liberty must be considered a punishment unless it can be required to ensure that an accused person will stand his trial when called upon. 

The courts owe more than verbal respect to the principle that punishment begins after convictions, and that every man is deemed to be innocent until duly tried and duly found guilty, it added.

Coming to the facts of the present case, the learned Judge was of the view that the accused is already granted regular bail in the case registered by EOW under the provision of IPC. Further, it is not disputed by the ED itself that a provisional order of attachment of properties of the accused side has already passed. 

The Court, in particular, took note of Senior Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey wherein he had highlighted out that the accused had been appearing before this court and undertakes to appear continuously in future.

The accused has roots in the society. Thus there is reasonable possibility of securing presence of the accused persons at trial and danger of their absconding or fleeing if released on bail does not appear at present. It further appears that the accused cooperated with ED till the time of filing present criminal complaint without arrest, the court added.