Delhi HC dismisses Raghav Bahl’s plea seeking to quash money laundering charges
The High Court also refused to set aside the lookout circular against ‘The Quint’ founder.
The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a plea by Raghav Bahl, the founder of news website The Quint, that sought to quash a money laundering case against him, reported Live Law.
The Income Tax department had filed a chargesheet against Bahl for alleged non-disclosure of funds of around Rs 2.45 crore used for buying a property in London. The case was filed in 2019 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
“The allegations [under the complaint] are yet to reach the stage of trial,” a bench of Justice Jasmeet Singh said. “Whether there is generation of proceeds of crime or not is being investigated and for the said reason, the petition as of today is premature and is rejected.”
The Income Tax department had started proceedings against the media entrepreneur under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act of 2015 for alleged irregularities in his returns filed for the assessment year 2018-’19.
Based on this complaint by the Income Tax department, the Enforcement Directorate began its proceedings against Bahl.
Meanwhile, the High Court, on Monday, also refused to set aside a lookout circular against Bahl, reported Live Law. A lookout notice is issued to prevent an individual wanted by law enforcement agencies from leaving the country.
However, the High Court allowed him to file an application with supporting documents as and when he wants to travel abroad, which, it said, shall be considered in accordance with law.
At Monday’s hearing, Bahl denied allegations of tax evasion and said that he had sent money through his bank account to purchase a property in London.
Advocate Abhimanyu Bhandari, appearing for Bahl, argued that the entrepreneur can be charged with underreporting of money transaction abroad but not for proceeds of crime, which is an essential condition for proceedings under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.