The Enforcement Directorate (ED) clarified before court on Saturday that of the four people it has summoned in the money laundering probe it has initiated against city-based lawyer and his associates on Saturday, three had been summoned as accused.
The department clarified that Ajay Singh, a clerk of advocate Mukesh Mittal; Praveen Kumar, his munshi and Lal Chand, his driver were summoned as accused during a brief hearing on anticipatory bail moved by all four. The agency clarified that advocate Ashok Kanwal, who had been appearing on behalf of driver Lal Chand, had also been also summoned for questioning, but has not been declared accused as of now.
The hearing was adjourned to January 23, due to the ongoing strike of lawyers. “We have registered an enforcement case information report (ECIR) with Ajay Singh, Praveen Kumar and Lal Chand as accused but investigations are still on,” advocate DD Sharma told the court.
The ED submitted that these three are directors of eight companies. Denying that the accused had been threatened and misbehaved with, ED officials accused them of “non-cooperation and delaying investigation”.
It its reply to the anticipatory bail plea, ED submitted, “Investigations conducted so far have revealed that a huge amount of cash has been deposited into the accounts of Ajay Singh, Praveen Kumar and Lal Chand, so a through and detailed explanation is required from them during investigation. They are therefore not entitled to concession of bail.”
However, advocate Terminder Singh, who appeared on behalf of the summoned people, said, “The court had asked the ED to clear its stand on whether all four persons have been summoned as accused or witnesses, but the agency gave no clear answer,” said the advocate.
Interestingly, the plea sought anticipatory bail under the Prevention of Corruption Act. “When the bail application was filed, no information was shared with us regarding the section in which the case was filed. It was only after ED’s reply that we got to know about the case is under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, so necessary amendments would be made,” added Terminder Singh. Only district sessions judge empowered to hear the case
The anticipatory bail plea was put up before the court of district and sessions judge, SK Aggarwal, as under the provisions of the Money Laundering Act, only the sessions judge of the district has the power to hear the case. On January 15, the application had been marked to additional district and sessions judge Shalini S Nagpal.