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Misa Bharti, husband granted bail in money laundering case; Lalu Prasad's daughter had earlier pointed finger at spouse, dead CA

Misa Bharti and her husband Shailesh Kumar were granted bail on Monday by a special CBI court in a money laundering case. They, however, may not be able to leave the country without the court's permission.

On Sunday, it was reported that Bharti had shrugged off her responsibility, and put the onus of running a company being probed for money laundering on her husband and a dead CA, even though the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said that the duo "actively conspired" to launder Rs 1.2 crore using shell firms.

The agency, in its chargesheet, filed against the couple in December, had said they were "party and actively connected with proceeds of crime including its concealment, possession, acquisition or use and projecting or claiming it as untainted property, and thus are guilty of money laundering".

A special court in Delhi had taken cognisance of the chargesheet — also known a the prosecution complaint under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act — and summoned the couple as accused in the case. The case is related to the purchase of a farmhouse in Delhi by Misa Bharti and her husband in the name of their company — M/S Mishail Packers and Printers Pvt Ltd  — "using Rs 1.2 crore involved in money laundering in the year 2008-09".

File image of Misa Bharti. CNN-IBN

File image of Misa Bharti. CNN-IBN

Misa has been questioned by ED in connection with the case. She had given brief replies and told the agency that the day-to-day business activities of the firm were "looked after by her husband Shailesh Kumar and the financial records of this company were maintained by the CA of the company, late Sandeep Sharma".

Hence, she had said, her husband and the deceased CA "would be in a better position" to answer questions about the company and the farmhouse purchased by it.

The ED had been seeking information with related to investments made by four companies in 2008, in Mishail Packers and Printers Pvt Ltd. The four companies had bought shares of Mishail Packers and Printers Pvt Ltd at Rs 100 per share with a share premium of Rs 90 per share.

The agency had recorded Misa's statement under the PMLA.

Misa had reiterated the answer and put the responsibility of taking care of business and financial activities of the firm on her husband and the CA when she was questioned by the Investigating Officer of the case about the shares of the company in 2009, purchased by her at a nominal value of Rs 12 per share.

Shailesh Kumar, in his statement to the ED, had said he, as one of the directors of the firm, "supervised the day-to-day functioning of the company, guiding his manager and other employees". He, however, had told the ED that the "financial matters" of the company were handled by the CA and his company was "investing in purchasing agricultural land in anticipation of the proposed new master plan of Delhi".

The ED, in the chargesheet, had said that Misa and Kumar have "actively connived and conspired with Rajesh Kumar Agarwal (another accused in the case) and late Sandeep Sharma for laundering Rs 1.20 crore through the shell companies controlled by Jain brothers and Santosh Kumar Shah (alleged hawala and shell company operatives)". The couple is charged with providing funds in advance to the hawala operatives for making investments in their company and thus "knowingly were party and actively connected with proceeds of crime including concealment, possession, acquisition or use and projecting or claiming it as untainted property".

The chargesheet also said that, based on these pieces of evidence, the couple is "guilty of the offence of money laundering". It added that the two were the directors of the firm and were "in-charge and responsible for the conduct of the business of their company".

"They have failed to provide the source of unaccounted money provided to Jain brothers and others for making an investment in their company," the chargesheet had said. It also said that the couple, as well as the company, "have committed an offence of money laundering".

The ED is probing Bharti and her husband as part of its criminal probe in a Rs 8,000 crore money laundering case involving shell companies and the Jain brothers. The Jains were arrested by the ED in March 2017.

The ED had conducted raids at the farmhouse and few other places linked to Misa Bharti, her husband and others in July last year.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Mar 05, 2018 11:22 AM

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