Delhi court reserves order on bail plea of Lava International MD in PMLA case linked to Vivo

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New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) A Delhi court on Monday reserved its order for January 12 on the bail plea of Hari Om Rai, the Managing Director of Lava International, in a money laundering case against the Chinese smartphone-maker Vivo.

The Enforcement Ditectorate (ED) had arrested Rai with four others — Chinese national Guangwen alias Andrew Kuang, Chartered Accountants Nitin Garg and Rajan Malik — on October 10, 2023.

On December 20, 2023, Special Judge Kiran Gupta of Patiala House Courts took cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the probe agency and summoned the accused, who are in judicial custody, on February 19.

Notably, on December 19 last year, the ED arrested three more persons, who are the top executives of Vivo India.

The three accused — Vivo India interim CEO Hong Xuquan, Vivo Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Harinder Dahiya and consultant Hemant Munjal — were recently also granted release by the court and the probe agency had challenged the court’s order before the High Court.

On Monday, during Rai’s bail plea hearing, Senior Advocate Vikaram Chaudhari, representing Rai, argued that his client’s three medical conditions could worsen in jail and urged for bail.

However, ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Manish Jain opposed the bail, saying that the merits of the case and Rai’s medical condition should be considered separately.

Rai’s bail petition says that the allegations against him are false, stressing that he had no direct or indirect control over Vivo’s business and did not derive any monetary benefit from the company.

Advocate Nitesh Rana, also representing Rai, said that the proposed joint venture between Lava and Vivo did not materialise, and negotiations ceased in 2014.

The plea says that Rai had no association with Vivo or its representatives after 2014, and the deterioration of international relations between India and China in recent years does not imply any wrongdoing on Rai’s part during the relevant business discussions.

The court had earlier directed the concerned jail authority to file the medical status report of Rai.

Earlier, a source told IANS that the arrests were made after the financial probe agency carried out searches at the premises of the four accused and recovered cash to the tune of Rs 10 lakh. The ED action came more than a year after it carried out searches at 48 locations across the country belonging to Vivo Mobiles India Private Ltd and its 23 associated companies such as Grand Prospect International Communication Pvt Ltd (GPICPL), and claimed that it has busted a major money laundering racket involving Chinese nationals and multiple Indian firms.



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