The Supreme Court recently refused to grant bail to the internal auditor of a travel firm named Cox & Kings India and its group companies, accused in a money laundering case related to Rs. 3,642 crores Yes Bank Scam.

The petitioner was arrested on October 5, 2020, and his bail application was rejected by the Trial Court in December of the same year.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha ordered, “Having perused the material which has been placed on the record in the counter affidavit filed by the respondents, we are not inclined to entertain the Special Leave Petition, at this stage. However, we direct that the ED shall take all necessary steps to ensure that it cooperates with the trial Judge in the expedition and early conclusion of the trial.”

Senior Advocate Siddhartha Dave appeared on behalf of the petitioner while ASG S.V. Raju appeared for the respondents.

Brief Facts –

According to the ED, the travel group had availed loans amounting to Rs. 3,642 crores from Yes Bank using manipulated finance statements and balance sheets and then diverted the money and siphoned it. It was alleged that the sanctioning of loans was driven by Yes Bank founder and then MD and CEO Rana Kapoor by defying norms. A complaint was submitted by Yes Bank to the Enforcement Directorate.

The petitioner was summoned by the ED and thereafter, he was arrested. The application for bail was rejected by the Trial Court and then, the High Court also, by its impugned order declined to grant bail having regard to the nature and gravity of the alleged offence. The Trial Court had noted that the ED should have taken urgent steps to commence the trial as early as possible, particularly having regard to the provisions of Section 44(1)(c) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

The Apex Court, after hearing the contentions of both Counsel, held, “If no substantial progress is made in the trial by 31 May 2023, the petitioner would be at liberty to apply for bail afresh and such an application, if filed, shall be considered by the trial Judge having due regard to the delay which has taken place in making progress in the trial and the period of custody which has already been undergone.”

The Court, therefore, disposed of the Special Leave Petition denying bail to the accused.

Cause Title- Naresh T Jain v. Union of India & Ors.

Click here to read/download the Order