New Delhi [India], November 20 (ANI): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a prosecution complaint (Chargesheet) against Nitin Bhatnagar, a Maltese Citizen arrested in connection with his alleged involvement in the offence of Money Laundering in a case of M/s Moser Baer India Ltd. and others.
Bhatnagar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 on August 22, 2023. The chargesheet has been filed before the Special Judge of Rouse Avenue Court in Delhi.
Recently the trial court had denied him bail and said "no ground for grant of bail is made out and that application in hand stands disposed of as dismissed".
Lawyers appearing for Bhatnagar earlier submitted that the accused or applicant is a citizen of Malta, whereas his father lives in Delhi and his arrest was 'not legal' as no permission was there to further investigate the case.
Bhatnagar was neither named in the FIR (of the Scheduled Offence) nor in the ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report) of the present ED case nor his name does appear in the Prosecution Complaints.
It was further submitted that the accused or applicant joined the investigation for 25 consecutive dates from the month of January 2020. The ED had even officially removed the LOC (in the year 2022) issued qua him as he had cooperated with it during the course of the investigation.
The accused or applicant later on came to know that the LOC was revived qua him on August 14 and that prior to the said date, the applicant had returned back to India for some business engagements.
He was arrested at the Airport on August 22 while he was going to board a flight to return home. This act on the part of the ED gives rise to reasonable concerns about the timing and underlying intent of their action despite full cooperation on the part of the accused or applicant, stated the Counsel appearing for Bhatnagar.
According to ED, the investigation was initiated against M/s Moser Baer India Ltd. and others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 on the basis of an FIR dated August 17 registered by CBI under various sections of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The account of M/s Moser Baer India Ltd. was declared as Fraud by the complainant bank on April 20, 2019 and the loan amount was siphoned off by the directors, namely Ratul Puri (nephew of Congress leader Kamal Nath) and his family members.
As per the ED, Nitin Bhatnagar helped in opening of a bank account in April 2011 in the name of M/s Pristine River Investments Limited in the Bank of Singapore. M/s Pristine River Investments Limited was a Dubai-based investment holding company, under the direction of Ratul Puri. The entity M/s Pristine River Investments Limited was fully owned by the Savannah Trust. Ratul Puri was the settler of the Savannah Trust.
ED investigation revealed that M/s Pristine River Investments Limited received the proceeds of crime amounting to USD 14.18 million from M/s UHY Saxena, M/s Mercon Commodities and M/s Midas Metals International, entities that were managed and controlled by Rajiv Saxena.
According to the ED, Rajiv Saxena is a hawala operator and an accommodation entry provider who runs an accommodation entry business in Dubai, who has laundered proceeds of crime for Moser Baer India Limited. He has created structures for laundering the proceeds of crime generated by Ratul Puri and his family members.
ED further said that the investigation has revealed that the account of M/s Pristine River Investments Limited has been used for the layering of proceeds of crime and Nitin Bhatnagar was actively involved in the layering of these proceeds of crime for the main accused Ratul Puri. Earlier, ED, in this case, arrested the businessman, Ratul Puri in the year 2019.
Further, during the investigation Rajiv Saxena, the hawala operator and Rajiv Aggarwal, a close associate of Ratul Puri, were arrested in 2021 and prosecution complaints have been already filed against these accused persons. Property amounting to USD 47.95 million has been already attached in this case, stated the ED. (ANI)