A special court on Tuesday demanded that the officer of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) gives an undertaking that businessman Pravin Raut will be produced before it after his custodial interrogation in another case in Delhi is over, stating that it has a ‘history’ of two accused - Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd’s (DHFL) promoters Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan - being taken from its custody without its knowledge and going ‘missing’.
The ED had sought that the court permits Raut to be transferred for his production before a Delhi court. Special Judge under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) MG Deshpande had stated that considering the episode of the Wadhawan brothers, it will be proper to let Raut make his submission on the ED’s plea. It had noted that Raut’s bail plea in a money laundering matter before it, is pending. On Tuesday, in his response to the ED’s plea, the businessman said he is ready to cooperate provided that he is produced safely back before the court.
Wadhawans had been illegally transferred to Lucknow without the knowledge of the court. They had been taken by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers by train at night, his lawyers have claimed. On June 6, the court issued notices to the CBI officers who had taken their custody from Taloja jail where they were lodged in judicial custody of the PMLA court in a money laundering case concerning Yes Bank.
On Tuesday, Judge Deshpande said sternly to the ED’s prosecutor that he will not pass an order to transfer Raut unless he is given an undertaking by the agency’s officer. “If your officer is ready to give an undertaking, take custody,” the Judge said, adding, “There is a history. Two accused in the court’s custody have been transferred and nobody knows where they are. It’s one month and they are missing, hampering the progress in their case.”
Appearing before the court later, senior counsel Amit Desai appearing for the Wadhawan brothers told the court that he has been told the brothers have been shifted from the Lucknow to Tihar jail. He sought that the court issue contempt notices to the agency and pointed out that three production warrants have been issued by the court. Referring to Dheeraj Wadhawan, he said that one of the accused is in bad medical condition and that he was told that when in Lucknow, he was not given proper medical treatment. “The accused are in the custody of this court. Who is responsible if something happens?” he asked.