A court here today sent a Delhi- based businessman to a 14-day judicial custody in connection with the note ban money laundering probe involving lawyer Rohit Tandon and others. Metropolitan Magistrate Samiksha Gupta sent Yogesh Mittal, a resident of Model Town area, to Tihar Jail till July 3 after he was produced from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody which expired today. During the in-chamber proceedings, the ED counsel sought a 14-day judicial custody, contending Mittal had “frustrated” the PMLA investigations.
“Yogesh Mittal tried to frustrate the PMLA investigations by asking the suspected account holders of Bank of Baroda to run away thereby making a deliberate effort to frustrate the investigations,” the agency submitted. The court remanded him to judicial custody after the agency contended that investigations under PMLA were under progress and it had to unearth the entire conspiracy of money laundering to trace the money trail.
Meanwhile, the court allowed the plea of Mittal’s lawyer Sanjay Sharma to let him take his medicines in jail. Earlier, the ED had argued that there were certain “shady accounts found with banks including the Bank of Baroda and the ICICI” in which demonetised currency was deposited and Mittal had to be confronted with someone “crucial”, summoned by the probe agency. The ED had arrested Mittal on June 5 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for his alleged role in the illegal conversion of demonetised currency notes worth Rs 51 crore in “connivance” with lawyer Rohit Tandon, a suspended Kotak Mahindra bank manager and another person who acted as entry operator or illegal fund router.
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It was alleged that Mittal was “instrumental in picking up Tandon’s demonetised cash on November 14-19 last year and depositing it in various bank accounts of shell companies”. A “conspiracy” was hatched among Mittal, Tandon’s CA, Kamal Jain, ex-bank manager Ashish Kumar, entry operator Raj Kumar Goel and others, the ED had said. It was planned that the “demonetised currency would be collected and deposited in various accounts of firms which have huge cash in hand and from those accounts demand drafts (DDs) in fictitious names would be issued,” it had said.
“Later, these DDs would be cancelled to get the money back into the accounts, thus converting the demonetised currency into monetised currency,” the agency had said. Currency notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 were demonetised by the government on November 8 last year. The ED took over the case and registered an FIR under the PMLA after taking cognisance of a Delhi Police Crime Branch FIR on alleged fake accounts with deposits of Rs 34 crore.