Mumbai: On Saturday, a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court granted bail to Jignesh Shah, the chairperson of Financial Technologies (India) Limited.
The decision of the special court has come as a setback for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), since the agency had arrested Shah for his alleged role in the Rs 5,600 crore money laundering case. The special court held that there was no need for Shah to be in the custody for the investigations by ED, and thus granted him bail.
While granting bail, the special Judge PR Bhavake directed Shah to pay an amount of Rs 2 lakh as surety for the bail.
The special judge also asked Shah to deposit his passport in the court, thus imposing restrictions on his movement outside India.
It may be recalled that the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police had booked Shah in 2014 after a complaint of criminal breach of trust was filed in a city police station. However, Shah, an accused in the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) scam was bailed out by the Bombay High Court after three months of his arrest.
Subsequently, ED had registered a case against Shah in 2013, under various sections of PMLA and also charge sheeted him in April 2015.
Abad Ponda, the counsel appearing for Shah had last week sought bail for him saying that his client’s arrest was against the right to liberty.
According to Ponda, the ED’s move to arrest Shah was ‘illegal’ since another designated court had already taken cognizance of an offence, which showed his client as the second accused. He had informed the court that Shah was arrested by EOW (in May 2014) and later released but the ED never chose to arrest him until July, this year.
Hiten Venegaonkar, the counsel appearing for ED had argued that Shah was earlier arrested for his role as a vice-chairperson of the NSEL, but his present arrest was made after a fresh investigation in the case. He had informed the bench that this time the agency arrested Shah for his role as a chairperson of FTIL.
Venegaonkar had told the court that the fresh investigation was related to the alleged money laundering between FTIL and Indian Bullion Market Association (IBMA) and National Bulk Handling Corporation (NBHC), the two subsidiary companies of FTIL.