Two Delhi liquor scam accused granted bail
DECCAN CHRONICLE | N. Vamsi Srinivas
Hyderabad: The designated court trying the Delhi liquor scam case filed by the Enforcement Directorate granted bail to two accused, Rajesh Joshi and Gautam Malhotra, on Saturday on the grounds that the evidence produced by the investigating agency against them was not incriminating enough.
The two are key persons in the case because the ED accused them of channelling monetary kickbacks of at least 20 crore-30 crore of a total pay-off of 100 crore through hawala from South Group involving BRS MLC K. Kavitha to Aam Admi Party.
The observations made by the special judge M.K. Nagpal while granting bail also exposed chinks in the ED’s investigation so far and the lack of strength in the material evidence gathered by it to prove the money laundering allegations. The judge also pointed out discrepancies in statements made by approver Dinesh Arora in separate cases filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation and ED.
The court said the bail was being granted in the absence of any satisfactory corroborative material, given the material contradictions and deficiencies in the evidence relating to the transactions of advance kickback amount.
"This court is of the prima facie view that the same (evidence) is not sufficient to make this court believe that the case against (bail) applicants is genuine or that they are going to be held guilty of the offence of money laundering," the judge pointed out.
Further, the judge observed that the ED was not clear if 20 crore was channelled by the accused or 30 crore. The slips on which the accused carried details of the hawala were not produced by the ED, which, he said, depended on the statements given by the approvers.
Earlier, senior counsel Dr Menaka Guruswamy, appearing for the bail applicants "vehemently" argued that Joshi, though not named by CBI and ED in their respective cases, was falsely implicated and illegally arrested for political and mala fide reasons.
She submitted to the court that since the approver had been an accomplice in commissioning the alleged crime, the sole statement of the approver cannot be made a ground to deny bail to the applicant.