The Allahabad High Court recently denied bail to Anil Kumar Sharma, the Managing Director of the Amrapali Group of companies, in the case filed against him for offences committed under Section 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh deemed it to not be appropriate to enlarge Kumar on bail, in view of the Supreme Court’s order of July 2019, in which his alleged involvement the offence had been meticulously flagged, his conduct before the Supreme Court and the fact that the investigation was still on and money trail yet to be completely unearthed.
The matter came up before the High Court after Kumar’s bail application before the Special Judge/Sessions Court PMLA, Lucknow was rejected in July this year.
Tracing the timeline of the scam that defrauded home-buyers, the High Court recounted that the Supreme Court had relied on the findings recorded by Forensic Auditors to conclude that there was a prima facie violation of FEMA and other fraudulent activities of money laundering.
Thus, the top court had directed the Enforcement Directorate to probe the case and fix liability on persons responsible for the scam. The High Court also observed Kumar has been accused of serious economic offences.
“This case is one of the classic cases which would reveal the true story that how a real estate company/builder in active connivance and collaboration with the financial institution, government authorities and functionaries can defraud, cheat, dishonestly misappropriate and diverted the funds to the extent of thousand crores collected from home/flat buyers and shatter their cherished dream to have their own house, a dream of every middle call person of this country and leave them completely high and dry”, the order reads.
But for the Supreme Court’s intervention, the High Court noted that thousands of flat buyers would have been left high and dry by the promoters of the Amrapali Group of Companies and that the Amrapali scam would not have been unearthed.
Kumar was described as the king-pin of the fraud, cheating, diversion of funds and money-laundering allegedly involved in the case.
The Judge observed further,
“It is well settled that economic offences constitute a class apart and need to be visited with a different approach in the matter of bail. While granting bail, the court has to keep in mind the nature of accusations, magnitude and gravity of offence and nature of evidence in support of the accusations.”
Thus, in view of the order passed by the Special Judge, the nature of the accusation, the gravity of the offence and the punishment provided for the offence, the fact that the investigation had been going on qua other accused and given that the scam allegedly involves a huge amount of Rs.6,000 Crores, the bail application was rejected.
Advocates Manoj Singh, Pranshu Agarwal and Mohd. Yasir Abbasi appeared for the accused-applicant and Advocate Shiv P Shukla appeared for the Enforcement Directorate.