MD of Gold Trading Firm Denied Bail
The Ernakulam District and Principal Sessions Court on Wednesday dismissed the anticipatory bail petition of managing director of a leading gold wholesale trader based in Mumbai and an accused in a gold smuggling case investigated by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
The court dismissed the petition of Om Prakash Khatri, 52, managing director of Panna Gold Impex Limited, Mumbai.The judge, S Mohandas, said that in view of the alleged recovery of primary gold ornaments worth over `2.85 crore, the court finds it unable to accept the contention that the accused had committed bailable offence.
“It is difficult to draw a conclusion about the veracity of the computer print-outs produced by the accused. Whether the seized gold is smuggled or not is something which cannot be determined on the basis of the available materials,” the court said.
Moreover, the accused had declined to appear before the investigation officer. So it would appear that he had refused to cooperate with the investigators. Such a person is not eligible for discretionary relief of the anticipatory bail,” the court ordered.
Khatri’s counsel had argued that the gold seized from two employees of the company from Vyttila mobility hub was under due authorisation of the company. They had also produced extracts of balance sheet, profit and lose account, acknowledgment certificates and income tax payment certificates.
However, DRI counsel C P Udayabhanu who strongly opposed the anticipatory bail, submitted that it was clear from the statements of other accused persons that the gold was smuggled to the jewellers of South India. Though the DRI had summoned Khatri for interrogation, he did not appear till now. On February 4, the DRI had arrested Surender Singh and Dhiraj Devasi, employees of the company, from Vyttila Mobility Hub carrying gold consignments, which was to be supplied to major gold jewellers in Kerala and Tamil Nadu by evading tax.
Following their arrest, the DRI conducted raids on the office of Panna Gold Impex in Mumbai. Both the employees of the company were later released on bail.