New Delhi: The Delhi High Court sought response of a Delhi-based businessman, arrested in a Rs 5,000 crore money laundering case, on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) challenging the bail granted to him.
Justice A K Pathak issued a notice to Gagan Dhawan, who was granted bail on January 4 by a special court.
The ED challenged the January 4 decision of the trial court claiming that Dhawan was the “key person” in the case who “diverted the proceeds of crime”.
The agency also contended before the high court that its probe would be hampered as long as the businessman was out as the proceeds of crime are yet to be traced.
Dhawan, arrested on November 1, 2017, was sent to judicial custody on November 15, 2017, by the special court after the ED had said he was not needed for further custodial interrogation.
The ED had alleged before the trial court that Dhawan had facilitated the directors of Gujarat-based pharma firm Sterling Biotech Ltd. (SBL) in the purchase of several properties and helped in misuse and diversion of credit facilities of several banks totaling Rs 5,000 crore.
“Rs 1.5 crore was received by the accused from SBL group. Prior to that, the amount of bank loans was rotated in various group companies of SBL group,” the agency said.
Dhawan was arrested in an alleged bank fraud case involving SBL under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The firm and Dhawan were also being probed by the ED for allegedly bribing senior income tax department officials in an earlier criminal complaint.
The CBI had recently booked Sterling Biotech, its directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, former director of Andhra Bank Anup Garg and some unidentified persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud case.
It had alleged that the company had taken loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank which had turned into non-performing assets.
The FIR had also alleged that the total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016. The ED had taken a cognizance of this FIR to file a money laundering case against them.