New Delhi, Oct 14: The Delhi High Court on Saturday upheld a trial court's order that sent a Chinese national to three days Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody in connection with a money laundering case related to Chinese smartphone-maker Vivo.
A Delhi court on Friday extended ED custody of four accused individuals, including Chinese national Guangwen Kyang aka Andrew Kuang by three days.
Kuang, Lava International MD Hari Om Rai, Rajan Malik and chartered accountant Nitin Garg were produced before Additional Sessions Judge Devender Kumar Jangala of Patiala House Courts on expiry of their three-day ED remand.
The ED sought 10-day remand, but the judge granted only three more days till October 16.
The high court said that the trial court's order had adhered to the provisions of Section 19 and 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma noted that the grounds of arrest and the remand application clearly stated the involvement of Kuang from the very inception, particularly in the incorporation of the relevant companies across the country.
This incorporation had allegedly led to the acquisition of proceeds of crime and their subsequent siphoning.
Justice Sharma said that the impugned order had considered the allegations against the accused individuals and the ED's investigation progress. The court further said that the trial court had reviewed the written grounds of arrest and ensured compliance with the Supreme Court's judgement in the Pankaj Bansal case, as the accused individuals were provided with written grounds of arrest.
"After perusing the records of the case, the learned Sessions Court has categorically recorded that prima facie there was no violation of Section 19 of PMLA since the investigating officer, from the material and investigation conducted so far, had formed an opinion that the accused persons were guilty of the offense of money laundering and had affected their arrest accordingly," the court said.
The probe agency had arrested the four persons on October 10. A source had earlier told IANS that the arrests were made after the financial probe agency carried out searches at the premises of the four accused on Monday and recovered cash to the tune of Rs 10 lakh.
The ED action came more than a year after it carried out searches at 48 locations across the country belonging to Vivo Mobiles India Private Ltd and its 23 associated companies such as Grand Prospect International Communication Pvt Ltd (GPICPL), and claimed that it has busted a major money laundering racket involving Chinese nationals and multiple Indian companies.
According to the ED, Vivo Mobiles India Pvt Ltd was incorporated on August 1, 2014 as a subsidiary of Multi Accord Ltd, a Hong Kong-based company, and was registered at ROC Delhi. GPICPL was registered on December 3, 2014 at ROC Shimla, with registered addresses of Solan, Himachal Pradesh, and Gandhinagar, Jammu.
The PMLA investigation by ED was initiated by registering a money laundering case on February 3, 2022 on the basis of an FIR registered at the Kalkaji police station in the national capital by Delhi Police against GPICPL, its director, shareholders and certifying professionals etc., on the basis of a complaint filed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.