In the matter Rajesh Joshi & Gautam Malhotra v ED. Joshi was charged because he was connected to AAP communications chief Vijay Nair and took part in the transfer of advance kickbacks worth roughly $30 crores that were obtained from the “South lobby” to Nair. He was also accused of channelling kickbacks through expenses incurred by the AAP during its Goa electoral campaign. They further contended that Malhotra had been accused of organising a cartel by operating in the city’s spirits industry at the manufacturing, wholesale, and retail levels. Malhotra paid a bribe worth roughly 2.5 crores, according to the ED.
Analysis of Judgement
In the money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the alleged Delhi excise policy scam, the single bench of district court justice MK Nagpal argued that there is not enough evidence available against Joshi and Malhotra and came to the conclusion that it is not enough to keep them in custody granted bail to Rajesh Joshi and Gautam Malhotra.
They said that Joshi and Malhotra should be freed since the evidence against them could not possibly be considered to be sufficiently incriminating to warrant their arrest and continuous detention in accordance with Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) or the rejection of bail. The court ruled that there is no independent evidence to support the claim that he was involved in the transmission of kickbacks.
The bench claims that neither any statement made by any hawala operator alleged to have been involved in these transactions nor any record obtained from one of these operators in relation to the transmission of the aforementioned sum has been shown to the court. Additionally, the applicant has acknowledged that he has not made any depositions that are damning in his statements that were recorded by ED officers in accordance with PMLA Section 50. It further stated that there is no evidence linking the money Joshi’s company received to the kickbacks. It is clear that the alleged kickback sum was sent through this applicant and is very large, in contrast to the modest payments of a few lacs that he is said to have made for jobs relating to the election.
The judge stated that although Malhotra may have created the cartel in defiance of excise policy guidelines, it appears to be a purely commercial cartel to promote the sale of his alcoholic beverage companies. Furthermore, it is the prosecution’s accepted case that the applicant had no involvement at all in the creation of the aforementioned excise policy and was not even a member of the South lobby that received advance kickbacks of Rs. 100 crores. Again, he is not claimed to have given any such advance kickbacks to Vijay Nair, the other AAP MPs, or any public officials before or in conjunction with the creation of the aforementioned policy. The court did not discover any evidence to support the claim that Malhotra’s retail stores received excess credit notes totalling 48.9 lakhs. A bond was ultimately granted after it was determined that neither of the two accused could be regarded as a flight risk and that there aren’t any plausible chances of the evidence being destroyed or the witnesses being influenced.