Court denies Tandon bail, says he may influence witnesses

Court denies Tandon bail, says he may influence witnesses
Controversial lawyer Rohit Tandon, arrested in connection with a money laundering case post demonetisation, was today denied bail by a Delhi court which said he is alleged to have been involved in a "white collar crime" with other co-accused in "well-planned" manner.

The court rejected the bail plea of the lawyer, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate after a raid in connection with a black money probe which led to the alleged seizure of Rs 13.6 crore from his law firm. Tandon, who was allegedly involved in the illegal conversion of nearly Rs 60 crore demonetised currency, failed to get any relief with the court observing that he may influence material prosecution witnesses if he is released on bail.

"Accused is alleged to have been found involved in a white collar crime. The alleged offence was committed by the accused in conspiracy with other co-accused persons in a well-planned and thoughtful manner. It has been observed in a catena of decisions by the Supreme Court that economic offences constitute a class apart and need to be visited with a different approach in the matter of bail.

"The economic offences having deep-rooted conspiracies and involving huge loss of public funds need to be viewed seriously and considered as grave offences affecting the economy of the country as a whole and thereby posing serious threat to the financial health of the country," Additional Sessions Judge R K Tripathi said. The judge said that the investigation of the case is at an initial and crucial stage.

"The matter is at the initial and crucial stage of the investigation. The source of funds of proceeds of crime is yet to be ascertained. The recovery of balance proceeds of crime is yet to be affected. The accused if enlarged on bail at this stage, there is every possibility that he may tamper with the evidence and influence the material prosecution witnesses, thereby hamper the investigation of the matter.

"Considering the offence allegedly committed by the accused, its impact on the society and gravity and magnitude of offence allegedly committed by the accused, no ground for grant of bail is made out," the judge said and dismissed the plea. Besides Tandon, two other accused -- Kolkata-based businessman Paras M Lodha and Kotak Mahindra bank manager Ashish Kumar -- were arrested in separate PMLA cases. They are also in the judicial custody.
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