A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Monday extended the judicial custody of Omkar Group’s promoters Babulal Verma and Kamalkishore Gupta and said the question of releasing them on a bond as sought, does not arise.
On Monday, when their judicial custody had ended, their advocate Vijay Agarwal had filed a plea to release them forthwith on executing a bond. The plea was based on a closure report filed by the City Chowk police station, Aurangabad in an FIR by the complainant which had led to the ED’s investigation in the matter by registering a separate complaint. The closure report contained an affidavit filed by the complainant that the matter is amicably settled and the FIR was lodged on a misunderstanding. The judicial officer had accepted the closure report by a February 12, order. Agarwal had argued that now that the FIR does not exist, the accused cannot be remanded in judicial custody.
Special judge Abhijeet A. Nandgaonkar said in his order that though the scheduled offence is compounded, it cannot overrule the authority of the special court under PMLA to make further progress in the offence of money laundering when it was prima facie brought on record. “..definitely pruning of one branch does ot shrivel the whole tree,” the court said. It added that the act committed under the PMLA is a distinct offence. “Therefore, accepting C summary final report or compounding of scheduled offence will not give automatic nullification of acts done by the accused under PMLA,” it said.
The court opined that despite the acceptance of closure report by magistrate, the further progress of investigation in the present ED complaint cannot be cut off at this primary/nascent stage.
Stating that their custody has to be extended if there are reasons to believe that allegations are well-founded, it said it has no hesitation to extend their custody till ED files its chargesheet.
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