Kolkata-based businessman Paras Mal Lodha was involved in the offence of money laundering which “frustrated” demonetisation policy of the government posing “serious threat” to financial health of the country, ED today submitted in a court here. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a written submission before Additional Sessions Judge R K Tripathi while seeking dismissal of the bail application of Lodha, who was arrested on December 21, 2016 in connection with alleged conversion of over Rs 25 crore old currency into new notes.
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The court, which could not hear arguments on the bail plea today as the counsel for the accused was not available, gave a final opportunity to Lodha for concluding arguments on January 11.
“Reply on bail application of accused filed by ED. Senior advocate Rebecca John, who was supposed to argue on the application of the accused is not available. Therefore, request is made on behalf of the accused to adjourn the matter today.
“As prayed on behalf of the accused, the matter stands adjourned. Let bail application be listed for arguments and disposal on January 11. Last and final opportunity is granted to accused for concluding arguments,” the judge said.
In its submission, ED’s counsel Vikas Garg said, “The investigation has revealed that the accused person, besides others who are Indian as well as international hawala operators, are involved in the offence of money laundering frustrating the demonetisation policy of the government.
“The economic offences having deep rooted conspiracies and involving amount of hawala transactions need to be viewed seriously and considered as a grave offence affecting the economy of the country as a whole and thereby posing serious threat to the financial health of the country.”
He further said the accused might tamper with evidence and threaten witnesses adversely affecting the investigation done under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) if release on bail.
The court had on January 2 sent Lodha, co-accused lawyer Rohit Tandon and Kotak Mahindra bank manager Ashish Kumar to judicial custody till January 16.
Lodha has been accused of being involved in the conspiracy along with Tandon and indulging in converting old demonetised notes into new currency on commission basis, which constitutes offence of money laundering.
ED had alleged that the new currency which was entrusted to banks and government officials and was supposed to be delivered to public/ bank account holders, appears to have been misappropriated by Lodha and others for their monetary gains, thereby “cheating public at large” and causing monetary loss to the central government.
It had said he committed offences including those under sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC.