Delhi HC upholds arrest of former Bhushan Steel MD, dismisses bail plea in money laundering case
New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has upheld the arrest of Bhushan Steel Ltd’s former Managing Director Neeraj Singal in connection with a money laundering case related to a bank fraud probe by the Enforcement Directorate.
A bench of Justice Vikas Mahajan dismissed Singal’s plea challenging his arrest on June 9, 2023, stating that at that time, oral communication of the grounds of arrest was considered proper compliance with Section 19(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
The judgement took into account the Supreme Court’s ruling in Pankaj Bansal v. Union of India, delivered on October 3, 2023, which mandated providing written grounds for arrest, but with prospective effect from October 3.
The ED alleged Singal caused a loss exceeding Rs 46,000 crore to the public, and the court said that at the time of Singal’s arrest, the law, as per the Moin Akhtar Qureshi case, did not require written grounds.
The recent Supreme Court ruling in Ram Kishor Arora v. Union of India clarified that non-furnishing of written grounds until the Pankaj Bansal judgement would not be deemed illegal. The court noted that Singal’s arrest predated the Pankaj Bansal ruling and was thus in compliance with the existing legal provisions.
Justice Mahajan stressed the thoroughness of Singal’s arrest documentation, including a three-page ‘ground of arrest’ signed by two independent witnesses, rejecting claims that Singal’s signature was merely an acknowledgment of compliance.
The court also dismissed arguments regarding a typographical error in the arrest order and confirmed that the arrest procedures were followed correctly. Singal’s contention about delayed submission of arrest details to the Adjudicating Authority was also addressed, considering the office closure over the weekend after his arrest.