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2022 (9) TMI 563 - PMLA
Seeking grant of bail - money laundering - proceeds of crime - incorporation and operation of 450 Indian entities and 104 foreign entities for routing proceeds of crime and also enabling purchase of offices and properties as if with untainted funds - applicability of Section 45 of the PMLA - HELD THAT:- In the present case, therefore, since this is a fresh bail application, the court would be required to consider whether there are fresh circumstances or subsequent events that call for a fresh application of mind or whether it is a mere repetition of previous grounds. Even without the application of the principle of issue-estoppel, the court in order to maintain consistency in the decision making, would be slow in entertaining such pleas, which are mere repetition of the earlier pleas, which had not found favour with it - Since the question of adherence or non-adherence to the provisions of Section 19 of the PMLA have been raised and rejected by a Coordinate Bench, there is no cause to discuss that again here. The conclusions remain the same.
This bail application would have to be considered in terms of the provisions of Section 45 of the PMLA and the twin requirements, namely, (i) that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such offence and (ii) that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail, will have to be met. The allegations against the applicant are very serious in nature. A huge amount of rupees ninety-six thousand crores is supposed to have been laundered. There has been multiple layering, calling for painstaking and detailed investigations. The applicant has fully participated in the money laundering by lending his companies accounts to his brother and making accommodating entries. A sum of Rs. 35 crores is directly traceable to the applicant. A mere exculpatory statement to the respondent can never suffice to form a ground, leave alone a reasonable ground to believe that the applicant is not guilty of the offence - the pendency of those investigations does not enure in favour of the applicant. Rather, considering his previous conduct, in furnishing fake addresses and remaining out of bounds of the investigating agencies for almost two years, necessitating the issuance of NBWs, interference with investigations is a possibility that cannot be ignored. His remaining away from the reach of the law is also suggestive of his being a “flight risk”.
Considering the gravity of the offence, the previous reluctance of the applicant to co-operate with the investigating agencies, providing of fake addresses as well as absconding from law, are all factors indicative of the non-fulfillment of the twin conditions under Section 45 of the PMLA, to justify the grant of bail to the applicant.
Bail application dismissed.