Anoop Kumar Gupta, a businessman, was granted bail by a Delhi court in connection with a money laundering case involving the alleged Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper scam.
The accused was given relief by Special Judge Arvind Kumar, who noted that the investigation would take time to complete and that he has been in custody since January 29, 2021. According to the Compliance Directorate, the accused conducted money laundering with proceeds of crime totaling $24,624,298 via his businesses.
“The accused is admitted to bail on the furnishing of a personal bond in the sum of Rs 5 lakh with two sureties in the same amount, with the further conditions that the accused shall not tamper with evidence and shall not attempt to contact or influence the witnesses,” the court said.
It also ordered Anoop Gupta to comply with the inquiry whenever the investigating officer requests it, and not to leave India without the permission of the court. The court acknowledged that Gupta had already been served with a supplementary complaint. The court noted that the ED had summoned the accused to participate in the investigation and that the accused had done so on many occasions since December 16, 2018.
It went on to say that the papers had been retrieved and that the statements of witnesses had been filed with the charge sheets and supplementary charge sheets in the case.
“It is not the case of ED that further recovery from the accused is to be rendered. Even if the accused is not a suspect, he may be summoned to participate in the investigation at any time.
“Only during the course of the trial will the correctness or otherwise of the charges as to whether the accused has obtained and laundered the said money to be assessed,” the court said.
It went on to say that some other co-accused who played a similar or larger role than the current one have already been released on bail.
“Some of the co-accused have not been arrested at all by ED, and complaint (ED’s equivalent of a charge sheet) and supplementary charges have been filed against these accused persons without detention,” it said, adding that Gupta was not a defendant in the CBI case.
The court dismissed the ED’s claim that the accused might tamper with the facts, noting that the argument was primarily focused on photographic evidence and financial transactions and that the documents had already been confiscated by the ED.
The court acknowledged that the accused was 62 years old and had links to society, so ED’s argument that he could escape did not seem to be plausible. The court also noticed that the defendant has a variety of illnesses for which he is receiving medication.
Gupta, the director of KRBL Limited, which manufactures India Gate basmati rice, was allegedly arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the AgustaWestland VVIP choppers case after he allegedly refused to cooperate in the ongoing investigation, according to the ED.
Following reports of irregularities in the now-canceled deal to purchase 12 VVIP choppers from Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland, the ED filed money laundering charges in the case. In 2014, India canceled the agreement.
The ED stated that IDS Tunisia received Euro 24.37 million in proceeds of crime from Agusta Westland and that the proceeds were transferred to Interstellar Technologies Limited, Mauritius, and that part of the proceeds received in RAKGT (Rawasi Al Khaleej General Trading LLC, Dubai) was transferred to KRBL Limited. KRBL Limited had Anoop Gupta as a Joint Managing Director.