New Delhi: Hyderabad-based liquor businessman Arun Ramchandran Pillai, who is an accused in the alleged Delhi liquor excise scam, has filed an interim bail plea before a Delhi court, seeking an eight-week release due to his wife’s medical condition.
Special Judge M K Nagpal of the Rouse Avenue Court has sought a response from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Pillai’s plea.
Issuing notice to ED, the judge listed the matter for hearing next on December 1.
Advocate Nitesh Rana appeared for Pillai, who was arrested on March 6 and is currently in judicial custody.
Earlier this month, the ED filed a reply before the Delhi High Court in the bail plea of Pillai. It also filed a response on another petition terming his arrest as illegal, and violative of Section 19(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Rana argued that his client’s (Pillai) case is covered by Roop Bansal and Pankaj Bansal judgements, hence he ought to be released.
Earlier, citing the Supreme Court mandate of providing grounds of arrest as mandatory and of utmost importance, in the petition, Pillai had stated that no grounds for arrest, either oral or written, were ever provided to him, as is required under Section 19(1) of PMLA.
“The ‘Impugned Arrest Order’ is violative of Article 21 and Article 22 of the Constitution, since the petitioner/applicant was deprived of his liberty without following the procedure prescribed under law. Furthermore, the petitioner/applicant was stripped of his valuable right to defend himself since the grounds of arrest were not provided,” his plea read.
The plea further stated that none of the impugned remand orders record any satisfaction of whether the ED had materials on record to form “reasons to believe” that Pillai is guilty of an offence under the PMLA.
“It is pertinent to mention that the purported facts that have been asserted by the respondent agency (ED) in the remand application were asserted even in the first prosecution complaint filed,” the plea read.
“The petitioner/applicant has appeared before the ED at least on 9 (nine) occasions after the filing of first prosecution complaint and at least on 3 (three) occasions after filing of the second prosecution complaint on which occasions the petitioner/applicant was never arrested by the respondent agency,” it stated.
“Also, there is nothing in the Remand Application which is not part of the prosecution complaints dated November 26, 2022 and January 6, 2023 filed earlier. Thus, no reasons ever arose on March 6, 2023 or after the filing of a second prosecution complaint for arresting the petitioner,” it read.
The petition further stated that the ED in a vindictive manner and solely as a witch hunting exercise, has employed coercive tactics to obtain information and used third degree measures on Pillai herein as well as the other accused.
“The ED was enabled to act in such an illegal manner by the Impugned Arrest Order as well as the Impugned Remand Orders, which in itself is a ground to quash the said impugned arrest order and the impugned remand orders,” the petition further read.
Pillai has prayed for setting aside/cancelling/quashing of the impugned arrest order and impugned remand order. He has sought a court direction that he be immediately released from incarceration and set at liberty.