Rs 2000-cr foreign remittance scam: HC denies bail to kingpin
The Bombay high court has refused bail to Mohammed Farooq Mohammed Hanif Shaikh, the purported kingpin who laundered more than ₹2,200 crore in foreign remittances scam unearthed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in 2015.
Justice AS Gadkari rejected Shaikh’s bail plea saying it was a serious economic offence and there was sufficient material to show his complicity in the crime.
The scam came to light after the Union Bank of India in October 2015 found that huge foreign remittances were made against forged import documents at its Kalbadevi and Santacruz (West) branches by certain private firms.
The ED found that three specific mobile numbers — belonging to Shaikh— were linked to over 150 suspicious accounts. Shaikh had also convinced gullible people to part with their PAN cards, Aadhaar cards, electricity bills, ration cards, and using all these, he opened 13 shell companies. One of them later revealed he was paid ₹10,000 for appearing before a bank official as the director of one of the shell companies.
The ED further noticed that the gang had used bogus bills of entry, and submitted the same set of documents against multiple outward remittances under the veil of imports which were never made.
Shaikh, who was arrested by the ED in April 2018, had contended that there was no material available with the investigation agency to show his role in the alleged money laundering. It was also argued on his behalf that the directors of the firms, through whom the alleged laundering took place, were listed as witnesses in the case against him.
Advocate HS Venegaonkar, who represented the ED, opposed the plea, saying Shaikh was the kingpin of the scam which resulted in the laundering of approximately ₹2,250.80 crore out of India. He also pointed out that some of the witnesses in the case have expressed apprehensions of threat to their lives from the applicant.