KOCHI: Maharaja, a main accused in the financial fraud cases, was prima facie involved in huge money transactions which may amount to money laundering, the High Court said on Monday. This, the court said, will have to be thoroughly examined during the investigation.
The court made the observation while declining the plea of the assistant director, Enforcement Directorate (ED), Kochi, seeking to cancel the bail granted to Maharaja by the Sessions Court, Ernakulam. The High Court directed Maharaja to deposit 10 lakh in the trial court in view of the huge amount involved in the transactions.
ED had moved the court citing the gravity of Maharaja’s crime, the amount involved and the possibility of witnesses being influenced or documents being tampered with by the petitioner should he continue on bail.
However, the court observed mere involvement in money transactions won’t constitute the offence of money laundering as defined under Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
“Hence, there is no reason to cancel his bail,” said the court, which also directed Maharaja to surrender his passport in the trial court within five days. It also enhanced the amount of the bond ordered by the Sessions Court to `5 lakh. The sureties offered by the petitioner (Maharaja) should be residents of Kerala, having definite identity and solvency here. They should produce solvency certificate or title deed to prove their solvency. One of the sureties should be a close relative, the court said.