A Mumbai sessions court today granted bail to former MD and CEO of YES Bank, Rana Kapoor, in a money laundering case related to the wrongful loss of over Rs 300 crore to the bank.
A special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) granted Mr Kapoor bail on certain standard conditions. He can't leave the country and the court directed the seizure of his passport. He is also required to attend the court on all dates when the matter is fixed. He also has to submit a provisional surety of Rs 5 lakh.
Businessman Gautam Thapar and seven others were also granted bail in the case pertaining to the sale of a property at a prime location in Delhi.
Mr Kapoor and Mr Thapar, however, will not be released yet as they are in judicial custody in connection with some other cases.
The present case pertains to allegations in the sale of a property situated on Amrita Shergill Marg in Delhi to a company owned by Rana Kapoor's wife, Bindu Kapoor, for which a separate FIR had been registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Mumbai last year.
Later, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed a money laundering case against Rana Kapoor, Bindu Kapoor, Gautam Thapar and seven others based on the CBI's FIR.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Mr Kapoor, argued before the Court that his client has not been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate during investigation in the present matter and as the probe agency has filed the Prosecution Complaint without arresting Rana Kapoor, therefore, in terms of settled law by the Supreme Court of India, he is entitled to be released on bail.
Mr Aggarwal further argued that opposing bail by the ED without arresting the accused tantamounts to firing from the shoulder of the judge.
The ED is probing the alleged transaction between Thapar's Avantha Realty, Rana Kapoor and the latter's wife, and has filed a money laundering case after taking cognisance of the CBI's FIR.
The FIR claims that Rana Kapoor, the then MD and CEO of Yes Bank Limited, obtained illegal gratification in the form of a property belonging to Avantha Realty Ltd (ARL) in a prime location in Delhi at much less than the market rate after Thapar's firm was given a loan as well as concessions in existing credit facilities by the lender.
The ED, in its charge-sheet, has alleged that Mr Kapoor connived with ARL to wrongfully gain or get transferred a property situated at a prime location in New Delhi to a firm named Bliss Abode, which is owned by his wife Bindu Kapoor.
In order to get the property, Mr Kapoor created a monthly lease-rent agreement between the two group companies of Avantha and got a loan of Rs 400 crore sanctioned from Yes bank by getting mortgaged the said property to the bank.
The ED probe further revealed that by projecting the accounts of the said group of companies as stressed accounts or NPA accounts, the said property was put up for sale by the bank. When the account of ARL group company was on the verge of turning into NPA, Bliss Abode (beneficially owned by Rana Kapoor) offered Rs 378 crore for acquiring the said property.
The property had been valued at Rs 550 crore, ED said.
Mr Aggarwal argued that the alleged proceeds of crime in the present case have already been duly secured as the ED has provisionally attached property and therefore, there is no question of fleeing from justice.