Court allows custodial interrogation of journalist Upendra Rai
A Delhi court allowed the custodial interrogation of journalist Upendra Rai by the Enforcement Directorate for another five days in a money laundering case related to alleged extortion and dubious financial transactions.
Metropolitan Magistrate Bhavna Kalia granted the remand to the agency after Delhi-based scribe Rai was produced before the court on expiry of his seven-day ED custody.
Special public prosecutors Nitesh Rana and N K Matta, appearing for the ED, sought extension of Rai's custody by seven more days, saying he was required to be confronted with the evidence collected during his earlier remand.
The agency claimed before the court that top secret documents were recovered from Rai's possession and the ED was trying to find out how he procured them.
Summonses have been issued to senior government officials and Rai is required to be confronted with them, the agency said in its application moved through advocate A R Aditya.
It alleged that the accused had extorted money from various person claiming he had information against them as he was a journalist.
Thousands of crore of rupees was extorted, the ED alleged.
Rai was arrested on June 8 by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at the Tihar jail here, moments after he secured bail in a Central Bureau of Investigation case related to alleged extortion and dubious financial transactions.
The agency claimed that a number of documents, both in hard copies as well as in pen drives, had been recovered from Rai.
The agency alleged that the scribe frequently travelled abroad to park his ill-gotten money and that his custodial interrogation was needed to unearth the larger conspiracy.
The ED's application was opposed by Rai advocate Vivek Sud on the ground that the agency had already been granted enough time to interrogate the accused.
He was arrested by the CBI on May 3 for allegedly indulging in dubious financial transactions, getting an airport access pass made by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) by furnishing false information, alleged extortion and manipulation of an Income Tax Department case against a Mumbai-bound businessman.
The Supreme Court had on May 4 refused to interfere with his arrest by the CBI.
The ED had registered a money laundering case against him based on the CBI FIR.
It had claimed to have recovered, after searches at Rai's premises and those linked to him, call data records of a senior ED official, an IAS officer earlier posted with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, besides confidential communication between a Singapore-based Indian High Commission official and a former ED chief.
The recoveries also allegedly included income tax assessment orders of various companies and suspicious transaction reports of nearly 140 firms generated by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) after joint CBI-ED searches.
In his application seeking protection from arrest, Rai had claimed he was framed in the case because of his writings against an ED officer, who was part of the team probing the 2G spectrum allocation scam case.
Prasun Roy, chief security officer of Air One Aviation Pvt Ltd, was also booked by the CBI, which had carried out searches at eight locations in Lucknow, Noida, Delhi and Mumbai.
In its FIR, the CBI has alleged that going by the value of the transactions of over Rs one lakh during 2017, Rai's accounts received Rs 79 crore while Rs 78.51 crore was debited from it during the same period.