The Delhi High Court on Tuesday declined to interfere with the Enforcement Directorate’s proceedings to confirm the provisional attachment of a hotel in connection with a money laundering case against corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar’s son Aditya Talwar, PTI reported.
The Enforcement Directorate had provisionally attached Hotel Holiday Inn, which is worth more than Rs 120 crore and operated by Wave Hospitality Ltd, in New Delhi’s Aerocity locality in March, saying it was being controlled and managed by Aditya Talwar.
Justices Rajendra Menon and Brijesh Sethi said the investigation of Wave Hospitality’s “corporate veil” had revealed that companies holding its shares were completely controlled by Aditya Talwar, who has been accused of not cooperating with investigators in the money laundering case.
“If the share-holding pattern of the petitioner company [Wave Hospitality Ltd] and its share-holding companies are taken note of and if the proceeds of the crime amounting to Rs 272 crore on investigation seems to have come into the shareholders of companies owned by Aditya Talwar,” the court said. “And if we apply the theory of lifting of the veil, we have no iota of doubt that the petitioner company is controlled and managed by certain individuals like Deepak Talwar and Aditya Talwar who have substantial stakes and control over the petitioner company.”
The judges made the remarks after hearing the company’s petition challenging a show-cause notice sent by the investigative agency. In its plea, Wave Hospitality said it was a separate juristic entity and had no connection with Aditya Talwar or the case against him. It also contended that the hotel was not built using proceeds of crime, and its promoters or directors were not accused in the money laundering case.
Dismissing the petition, the court said it would not be appropriate to exercise discretion in favour of persons “against whom there are serious allegations of money laundering and who are prima facie found to be not cooperating in the matter of investigation and enquiry into the matter”.
Apart from challenging the show cause notice, the company also sought the quashing of a provisional attachment order as well and the proceedings initiated against it under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
In the first hearing, held last week, the judges had asked Aditya Talwar to appear before the Enforcement Directorate after the directorate alleged he was a “fugitive”.
Deepak Talwar has been in the Enforcement Directorate’s custody since his extradition from Dubai on January 30. The agency has filed a chargesheet against him for allegedly acting on behalf of foreign private airlines to secure air traffic rights and causing losses to national carrier Air India. Aditya Talwar’s role in the same case is also under the scanner.