Vijay Pal Dalmia, Advocate

Supreme Court of India & Delhi High Court

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In the case (Vinod Bhandari v. Assistant Director, Directorate of Enforcement reported at MANU/MP/0618/2018) the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, dealt with application for bail under section 45(1) of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). The applicant was 62 years of age and was an MBBS doctor by profession and was practicing and had number of medical institutes .Applicant was on bail in the concerned Scheduled offences.

In the present matter the prosecution had cited total 231 witnesses and there were in all 83 accused persons. The trial of the PMLA case would have taken considerable time to conclude and thus, keeping in view the observations made by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Nikesh Tarachand Shah v. Union of India & Anr. (AIR 2017 SC 5500)[ ]applicant could not be kept in custody for an indefinite period and it was his right to defend themselves in accordance with postulates of our constitution; especially Article 21 thereof. In this case it was pointed out that various under trial prisoners in PMLA offence had already gotten bail from various Court across the country.

The High Court of Madhya Pradesh held that the applicant was duly cooperating with the investigation and no prayer was made to arrest him during the investigation. The Applicant was a permanent resident of Indore and in all other cases of Scheduled offences in which he was enlarged on bail, he never misused the terms and conditions of the bail. There was no reason to presume that applicant would abscond or temper or influence the witnesses and was thus granted bail on certain terms.

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