Rouse Avenue District Court
Rouse Avenue District Court
Litigation News

PACL scam: Delhi Court grants bail to Nirmal Singh Bhangoo and others in money laundering case

The order was passed by Judge Dig Vinay Singh, Special CBI Court, Rouse Avenue.

Aditi Singh

A Delhi Court has granted bail to Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, Kanwaljit Singh Toor, Mohan Lal Sehjpal, Gurmeet Singh and Sarvesh Kumar in connection with the PACL money laundering case. (ED vs Nirmal Singh Bhangoo & Ors)

Bail was granted on a personal bond in the sum of Rs 1 lakh, with one surety each in the like amount.

The order was passed by Judge Dig Vinay Singh, Special CBI Court, Rouse Avenue.

Following the registration of FIR by the Central Bureau of Investigation under Section 120B and 420 of IPC, the Enforcement Directorate had filed its money laundering ECIR against Bhangoo and other accused including M/s Pearl Infrastructure Projects Ltd. (PIPL) and Pearl Agrotek Corporation Limited (PACL).

The gist of the offence was that PGF and PACL collected more than Rs 48,000 crore through collective investment scheme from investors all over India under the garb of sale and development of agricultural land. The money so collected was subsequently diverted through a web of companies to Australia.

Nirmal Singh Bhangoo was the Managing Director of PGF and he also incorporated PACL.

Cognizance of offence under Sections 3 & 4 of PMLA was taken by CBI Court in 2018 and the accused persons were ordered to be summoned.

After summoning, all the accused persons were granted interim bail.

The grant of bail was opposed by Enforcement Directorate on the ground that the investigation qua the offence of money laundering was going on.

While confirming the interim bail granted to all accused, the Court noted that none of them was arrested by Enforcement Directorate during the investigation and even the complaint/chargesheet was filed without any arrest.

Further, it was an admitted position that the investigation was still being conducted as certain information was sought from another country, which was likely to take many months, it said.

In view of the law laid down by the High Court, the Court also stated that Section 45(1)(ii) of PMLA had no application when an accused was not arrested under Section 19 of PMLA.

Rejecting ED's concerns, the Court remarked,

When the custody of any of these accused was not even deemed necessary by the complainant during investigation into the present offence under PMLA, no useful purpose would be served by now taking them in custody in this case. Although on behalf of complainant it is claimed that there is possibility of tampering of evidence by the accused, if they are released on bail, but no plausible apprehension and no reasonable grounds have been put forth to nurture any such apprehension..Throughout this period, arrest of accused persons was not deemed necessary or appropriate by the complainant. Therefore, now it does not lie in the mouth of the complainant to claim that if the accused are released on bail, they may tamper with the evidence.
Delhi Court

The Court further noted that the since the evidence was documentary and in the possession of the agency, there could be no reasonable apprehension of the accused tampering with the evidence.

There is no reasonable apprehension of the accused persons fleeing from justice either, the Court said.

It was thus ordered,

In the given facts & circumstances, A1 Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, A3 Kanwaljit Singh Toor, A4 Mohan Lal Sehjpal, A6 Gurmeet Singh & A7 Sarvesh Kumar are admitted to bail in the present case upon furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs 1 lakh, with one surety each in the like amount.

The order is subject to the accused surrendering their passports, nor leaving the country without permission, cooperating in any further investigation, not threatening any of the prosecution witnesses or tampereing with evidence etc.

Special Prosecutor NK Matta appeared for Enforcement Directorate.

Advocate Manoj Pant appeared for Nirmal Singh Bhangoo. Kanwaljeet Singh Toor was represented by Advocate Raghav Gulati.

Advocate Anand Nandan appeared for Mohan Lal.

Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa with Advocates Jai Anant Dehadrai, Sidharth Arora appeared for Gurmeet Singh.

Sarvesh Kumar was represented by Advocate Varun Chandok.

Read the Order:

Bail order ED Vs. Nirmal S. Bhangoo 03-09-2020 order (1).pdf
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