The special PMLA court on Saturday rejected the bail plea of IRS officer Sachin Sawant, arrested in June last year for allegedly generating Rs4.11 crore from illegal sources of income. While seeking bail, Sawant contended that the CBI, which has registered a predicate offence, has yet not submitted a final report against him. Besides, he claimed that no grounds of arrest was communicated to him.
Sawant’s lawyer Abad Ponda had contended that Sawant has given explanation for purchase of a flat in Sanpada. Also it was claimed that allegations that funds for the purchase of the said flat were routed through different loans – personal and current accounts of parents and brothers of the applicant – were contrary to the facts.
Plea opposed by ED Counsel
The plea was opposed by ED counsel Sunil Gonsalves, claiming that Sawant amassed properties exceeding legitimate earnings and introduced a company with no business in his father’s name, raising loans to suggest property purchases.
It was further contended that Sawant held the position of joint commissioner of customs, IRS (Customs and Central Excise: 2008). “The critical consideration is the check period from 12.01.2011 to 31.08.2020, during which the applicant is alleged to have amassed disproportionate assets amounting to Rs2,45,78,579. The focus is on accumulating significant wealth / assets during this period,” Gonsalves argued.
“The ED asserts that besides the transactions outlined in the prosecution complaint, there are suspicious benami transactions like the BMW car. Prima facie, the applicant (A1)’s income during the check period is Rs1,20,41,009. The applicant (A1) reportedly took loans but repaid them in cash, and the FIR suggests that his ‘expenditure’ exceeds his income,’ the ED contended.
Statements of family members
The agency referred to statements of all the family members and other concerned parties who were financially connected to Sawant.
The court noted, “Nothing prevented all the concerned individuals from producing these documents for inspection by the ED when they were called for recording statements under Sec 50(2) and (3) of the PML Act. Therefore, the maximum amounts referred to in both charts (supra) are tried to be justified by raising another loan or taking hand-loans or by way of gift. However, the sources thereof are not disclosed.”
Thus the court observed that this brings Sawant under money laundering. Besides, the court also rejected the plea of Sawant that his arrest was illegal.