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Rai was arrested in 2018 by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after he had secured bail in a CBI case related to alleged extortion and dubious financial transactions.
A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde has sought a reply from journalist Upendra Rai who is accused in a money laundering case related to alleged extortion and dubious financial transactions.
The order was passed on a plea by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) challenging the grant of bail to Rai.
The Bench of Chief Justice Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy issued notice to Rai and sought his response. It also stayed the operation of July 2019 Delhi High Court order granting him bail.
"Until further orders, there shall be a stay of operation of the impugned order passed by the High Court of Delhi if the respondent has not already been released on bail," reads the Supreme Court order.
Rai was arrested on June 8, 2018, by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), moments after he secured bail in a Central Bureau of Investigation case related to alleged extortion and dubious financial transactions.
The Enforcement Directorate has challenged the July 9, 2019 order of the Delhi High Court, by which it had granted bail to Rai, who had spent 13 months in jail till then.
The High Court while granting bail had directed that the journalist will not be permitted to leave the country. It had also cautioned him against trying to influence any witness or tamper with the evidence of the prosecution.
In its order, the High Court had noted that since Rai has already undergone more than one year of custody and since there was no material placed on record to show that he has tampered evidence, it was a fit case of granting bail to him.
The ED had opposed the bail plea before the High Court, stating that merely because bail has been granted to him in the two predicate offences investigated by the CBI, it could not be the sole criteria for granting him relief in the money laundering case.