NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today granted the Enforcement Directorate seven days custody of journalist Upendra Rai in a money laundering case related to alleged extortion and dubious financial transactions.
Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh granted the remand to the ED, which had sought his custody for 14 days to question him about the alleged wrongdoings.
Special Public Prosecutors N K Matta and Nitesh Rana, appearing for the ED, told the court that the accused was extorting money from various persons citing he had information against them as he was a journalist.
A huge amount involving thousands of crores of rupees was extorted, they alleged.
Rai was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at the Tihar jail here last evening, moments after he secured bail in CBI case related to the current matter.
In the application moved through advocate A R Aditya, the agency said that a number of documents, both in hard copies as well as in pen drives, have been recovered and Rai was required to be confronted with them.
The agency told the court that Rai frequently travelled abroad to park his illgotten money and his custodial interrogation was required to unearth the larger conspiracy.
The ED's application was opposed by advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Rai.
Aggarwal said that a number of illegalities were committed by the ED in this case and Rai's arrest itself was illegal.
"Every money which came in my client's bank account is accountable and he paid income tax in that regard," Aggarwal said.
He said that no public servant was arrested in the case which shows that there was no substance in the agency's allegations.
"I (Rai) was already in jail in CBI case related to this matter. ED could have interrogated me in that duration," the defence counsel said.
The Delhi-based scribe was granted bail yesterday on a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh and two sureties of like amount.
Rai was arrested by the CBI on May 3.
He was arrested by the CBI for allegedly indulging in dubious financial transactions, getting an airport access pass made by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) by furnishing false information, alleged extortion and manipulation of an Income Tax Department case against a Mumbai-bound businessman.
The Supreme Court had on May 4 refused to interfere with his arrest by the CBI.
The ED had registered a money laundering case against him based on this CBI FIR.
It had claimed to have recovered, after searches on Rai's premises and those linked to him, call data records of a senior ED official, an IAS officer earlier posted with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs besides confidential communication between Singapore-based Indian High Commission and a former ED chief.
The recoveries also included Income tax (IT) assessment orders of various companies and Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) of nearly 140 companies generated by Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) after joint CBI-ED searches on Rai and his associates.
In his application seeking protection from arrest, Rai had claimed he was framed in the case because of his writings against an Enforcement Directorate officer who was part of the team probing the 2G spectrum allocation scam case.
Prasun Roy, chief security officer of Air One Aviation Pvt Ltd, was also booked by the CBI, which had carried out searches at eight locations in Lucknow, Noida, Delhi and Mumbai.
In its FIR, the CBI has alleged that going by the value of the transactions of over Rs one lakh during 2017, Rai's accounts received Rs 79 crore while Rs 78.51 crore was debited from it during the same period.