RJD MP Amarendra Dhari Singh Sent to 10-day ED Custody by Delhi Court

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A Delhi court on Thursday sent RJD Rajya Sabha MP Amarendra Dhari Singh, arrested in a money laundering case related to an alleged fertiliser scam, to 10-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), saying it was necessary for fair investigation. Special Judge Dig Vinay Singh also dismissed the plea made by Singh’s advocate to place him in house arrest and not in the lock up, saying it cannot be accepted merely because the accused is a Member of Parliament.

The application of ED for remand is allowed and accused is remanded to custody of ED for a period of ten days, i.e., till June 13, being necessary for fair investigation, the judge said noting that the RJD MP was absolutely uncooperative when he was interrogated yesterday at his house. During the arguments held through video conferencing, ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Amit Mahajan sought 14-day custodial interrogation, saying he was required to be quizzed to unearth the larger conspiracy.

Also appearing for the ED, SPP Nitesh Rana told the court that the accused was required to be confronted with various documents and other evidence in the case. The MP and businessman was arrested under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

In it’s 10-page order, the court said that the apprehension of investigating officer (IO) that the accused may cause the evidence to disappear or tamper with the evidence was not unfounded as he was absolutely uncooperative when he was interrogated yesterday at his house. Cases under PMLA are indeed serious economic offences and in case an accused does not cooperate and evades giving replies, it gives rise to a reasonable apprehension that fair investigation cannot be conducted and the evidence can be tampered with, justifying arrest. It is all the more important when an accused in such offences is an influential person, like the present one, the judge noted.

The court further observed that the money trail was to be investigated, unidentified entities were to be identified, which the accused was allegedly withholding and not divulging. He is to be confronted with the records and the material collected by the investigating agency till date, it noted. The court also dismissed the plea made by defence advocate to place the accused in house arrest and not in the lock up, saying it cannot be accepted merely because the accused is a Member of Parliament and is suffering from ailments.

Purpose of remand is that the investigating agency can ably interrogate the accused and the accused can be confronted with voluminous records in the office of ED. Fair investigation may get hampered in case accused is kept in house custody and therefore it would be appropriate that ED shall make arrangement to keep the accused in the office of ED itself at an appropriate place, the judge noted. The court, however, allowed the accused to keep his medicines and necessary medical equipments, spectacles and also allowed him home made food and water.

“The accused be also got medically examined from a competent doctor every 48 hours and in case any medical help is required the same be provided to the accused immediately. It goes without saying that the investigating agency shall ensure Covid-19 safety protocols while the accused is in its custody, it said. The case pertains to an alleged fertiliser scam linked to the IFFCO and India Potash Limited (IPL), in which the CBI had registered a corruption case last month.

Singh is stated to be the senior vice president of a firm involved in the case, identified as Jyoti Trading Corporation.

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