Money laundering case against Tops Group: PMLA court asks ED to reply to discharge plea

The ACMM explained that the investigating officer has probed the entire case. They have recorded the evidence of witnesses, collected necessary documents and finally come to the conclusion that no cognizable offence can be attributed.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Friday, September 16, 2022, 09:19 PM IST
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In a relief for Topsgrup Services and Solution Limited, its former director Ramesh Iyer, who filed the complaint against the security firm appeared before the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Friday and said his report was lodged due to a misunderstanding.

Iyer also said he has no objection to a 'C' summary report filed by the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) before the metropolitan magistrate. A ‘C’ summary report is filed when the FIR is found to be based on a mistake of fact.

The 'C' summary report was later accepted by the additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM), MS Bade, on September 14. Meaning, the case has been closed.

Based on this case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had lodged a money laundering case against security firm’s promoter Rahul Nanda, former managing director M Sashidharan, Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, who recently shifted to Eknath Shinde-led faction, and Sarnaik’s  close aide, Amit Chandole.

After the ‘C’ summary report, Sashidharan filed an application before the PMLA court seeking discharge from the case. His advocate contended that since the magistrate court has accepted the 'C' summary report of the investigators, there is no existing statutory offence in the case.

His advocate said that since the ED does not have the power to intervene in the closure report proceedings, the investigating agency will not be filing an appeal. Also, the accused will not be challenging the closure order of the EOW. Hence, the ACMM order accepting closure report has achieved finality.

Chandole, who is the only one in custody at present in the case, also filed an application through his advocate seeking release from judicial custody and rejection of ED’s remand.

However, the public prosecutor said that the ED must be given an opportunity to file its reply to the applications by the accused.

Asking ED to file its reply, Special Judge M G Deshpande extended Chandole’s judicial custody till September 21.

The ACMM had accepted EOW’s ‘C’ summary report for closure of the investigation in the case. “The investigating officer has probed the entire case. They have recorded the evidence of witnesses, collected necessary documents and finally come to the conclusion that no cognizable offence can be attributed. The investigating officer then submitted a 'C' summary report,” said the ACMM.

The ED had alleged that Sarnaik had received kickbacks of over Rs 7 crore from Topsgrup for allegedly facilitating its contract of Rs 175 crore with the MMRDA. The contract for providing security guards at MMRDA was sub-contracted to Topsgrup.

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