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‘No doubt that proceeds of crime’: SC rejects Rohit Tandon bail plea (without prejudice) [READ JUDGMENT]

Rohit Tandon completes 10.5 months in jail, SC rejects bail
Rohit Tandon completes 10.5 months in jail, SC rejects bail

T&T Law founder Rohit Tandon lost his appeal for bail in the Supreme Court on Friday, and continues to be in jail for almost a year now for alleged money laundering.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud signed a 10 November judgment against him observing that the money in his possession was a result of criminal activity, owing to its sheer volume and unexplained source.

They stated in their 30 paragraph judgment, running into 43 pages:

The volume of demonetized currency recovered from the office and residential premises of the appellant, including the bank drafts in favour of fictitious persons and also the new currency notes for huge amount, leave no manner of doubt that it was the outcome of some process or activity connected with the proceeds of crime projecting the property as untainted property.

No explanation has been offered by the appellant to dispel the legal presumption of the property being proceeds of crime. Similarly, the fact that the appellant has made declaration in the Income Tax Returns and paid tax as per law does not extricate the appellant from disclosing the source of its receipt. No provision in the taxation laws has been brought to our notice which grants immunity to the appellant from prosecution for an offence of money ­laundering. In other words, the property derived or obtained by the appellant was the result of criminal activity relating to a scheduled offence.

The judges refused to grant permanent bail to Tandon but advised the trial court to expedite his trial and conduct it on a daily basis since he has been in custody since 28 December 2016 and the offence he is charged with is punishable with only three to seven years of imprisonment.

The bench also ordered that trial evidence should be examined on its own merit and not in light of the observations made in the Supreme Court bail hearing.

Advocate on record (AOR) Anupam Lal Das and advocates Arunabh Chowdhury, Manu Sharma, Vaibhav Tomar, Abhir Datt, Shruti Choudhry, Karma Dorjee and Anirudh Singh were present for Tandon.

AOR B Krishna Prasad was present for the Enforcement Directorate which alleged, as we had reported, that Tandon definitely laundered more than Rs 51 crore, and possibly even up to Rs 128 crore, by getting illegitimate demonetised currency deposited in bank accounts of dummy shell firms, in connivance with bank officials who were bribed with huge commissions.

The deposited currency would then allegedly have been withdrawn by issuing demand drafts (DD) of huge sums in fictitious names, cancelling the DDs and writing cheques for the sums credited back into the respective bank accounts.

Read judgment

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