SC seeks reply from journalist Upendra Rai on ED’s plea against grant of bail to him

New Delhi, Jun 3 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought reply from journalist Upendra Rai, accused in a money laundering case related to alleged extortion and dubious financial transactions, on a plea of Enforcement Directorate challenging grant of bail to him.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy issued notice to Rai and sought his response.

The Enforcement Directorate has challenged the July 9, last year order of the Delhi High Court by which it had granted bail to Rai, who had spent 13 months in jail till then.

The high court had asked Rai as a bail condition that he would not leave the country and would not try to influence any witness or tamper with the evidence of the prosecution.

Rai was arrested on June 8, 2018 by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), moments after he secured bail in a Central Bureau of Investigation case related to alleged extortion and dubious financial transactions.

The CBI had arrested him on May 3, 2018.

The Enforcement Directorate had in the high court opposed Rai’s bail plea saying that merely because bail has been granted to him in the two predicate offences investigated by the CBI could not be the sole criteria to grant him the relief in the money laundering case.

The high court had said that since Rai has already undergone more than one year of custody and there being no material placed on record to show that he has tampered evidence, it is a fit case of granting bail to him.

Rai’s counsel had alleged in the High Court that both CBI and ED had been “playing with the liberty” of his client and they have been adopting “vindictive approach” towards him by allowing him to remain in custody even though no interrogation is required.

Rai was arrested by the 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-based businessman.

He has denied all the allegations levelled against him. PTI MNL ABA SJK RKS MNL RKS RKS