Delhi HC refuses to interfere with arrest of M3M directors in money laundering case, ET RealEstate

June 23, 2023

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to interfere with the arrest of Basant Bansal and Pankaj Bansal, directors of Gurugram-based realty group M3M, in a money laundering probe linked to an alleged bribery case against a former judge and others.

The M3M directors, who were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday and sent to five-day custody by a special court in Panchkula, contended that their arrest circumvented a high court order granting them protection from coercive action in another money laundering case.

A vacation bench of Justice Jasmeet Singh noted that the petitioners have been remanded in ED custody by a trial court post arrest and it cannot decide its legality as the order has been passed by a court outside its jurisdiction.

“I am of the view that once an order of remand has been passed by a court of competent jurisdiction in Panchkula, the appropriate remedy is to approach the High Court of Punjab and Haryana,” said the judge on the petitioners’ plea seeking their release from “illegal detention” as an interim relief.

The court granted the ED 10 days’ time to file its response to the main petition against the arrest.

“We will issue notice. My territorial jurisdiction restricts me. I won’t be able to say this order (of remand) is bad,” the court stated orally.

Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, N Hariharan and Mohit Mathur appeared for the petitioners and argued that the M3M directors were arrested when they went to the agency to cooperate with the probe in another money laundering case in view of a high court order.

On June 9, the high court had granted interim protection from arrest till July 5 to Basant Bansal and Pankaj Bansal in a money laundering case linked to real estate firm IREO.

Singhvi submitted that the arrest in the present case was arbitrary and the ED cannot circumvent the earlier court order.

It was also argued that the agency should have mentioned the existence of the present case when the high court was hearing the petitioners’ plea seeking anticipatory bail in the other case.

Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the ED, opposed the petition and said the instant case was a “gross case” which pertained to the independence of the judiciary.

He stated that the arrest has been tested by a competent court and the petitioners have been sent to ED custody.

The money laundering case in which Basant Bansal and Pankaj Bansal have been arrested pertains to a Haryana Police Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) FIR filed in April against Sudhir Parmar, a former special judge for ED and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cases who was posted in Panchkula, his nephew and a third M3M group director Roop Kumar Bansal.

According to the FIR, the ED said, reliable information was received that Parmar was showing “favouritism” to the accused, namely Roop Kumar Bansal, his brother Basant Bansal and IREO owner Lalit Goyal in the criminal cases of the ED and other cases of the CBI pending against them in his court.

Parmar was suspended by the Punjab and Haryana High Court after the registration of the ACB case.

The ED has said it has collected “incriminating evidences such as bank statements and money trail, etc. with respect to the allegations in the FIR before making the (latest) arrests”.

The matter will be heard next in July.

  • Published On Jun 17, 2023 at 09:11 AM IST

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