HC Declines to Interfere in ED Proceedings Against Hotel Controlled by Deepak Talwar's Son
In its judgement dismissing the company's plea, the court said in the facts and circumstances of the case, it would not be appropriate to exercise its discretion in favour of persons "against whom there are serious allegations of money laundering and who are prima facie found to be not.
File photo of Deepak Talwar (PTI)
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has declined to interfere with the ED proceedings to confirm the provisional attachment of a hotel in Aerocity, saying the company running it was being controlled and managed by Aditya Talwar, son of lobbyist Deepak Talwar, both of whom are facing money laundering allegations.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had provisionally attached Holiday Inn, worth over Rs 120 crore and operated by Wave Hospitality Ltd, in connection with a money laundering case against the Talwars.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Brijesh Sethi said on piercing the "corporate veil" of Wave Hospitality, it was revealed that the companies, which were its shareholders, were completely held by Aditya who has not cooperated with the investigation in the money laundering case against him.
"If the share-holding pattern of the petitioner company (Wave) and its share-holding companies are taken note of and if the proceeds of the crime amounting to Rs 272 crore on investigation seems to have come into the shareholders of companies owned by Aditya Talwar, and if we apply the theory of lifting of the veil, we have no iota of doubt that the petitioner company is controlled and managed by certain individuals like Deepak Talwar and Aditya Talwar who have substantial stakes and control over the petitioner company," the court said.
The observation by the bench came in response to the company's plea that it was a separate juristic entity and had no connection with Aditya or the case against him.
The company had challenged a notice issued to it by the ED asking it why the provisional attachment of its hotel should not be confirmed.
In its judgement dismissing the company's plea, the court said in the facts and circumstances of the case, it would not be appropriate to exercise its discretion in favour of persons "against whom there are serious allegations of money laundering and who are prima facie found to be not
cooperating in the matter of investigation and enquiry into the matter".
"..looking to the totality of the facts and circumstances of the case, we are not inclined to exercise our extraordinary jurisdiction and interfere in the matter," it added.
The bench, on the first date of hearing on the matter, had said Aditya ought to appear before authorities and satisfy them, after the ED claimed that he was a "fugitive".
The ED had in March provisionally attached the Holiday Inn in connection with the money laundering case against Talwars.
The show cause notice was issued by the adjudicating authority after ED moved a plea before it seeking confirmation of the provisional attachment.
The company, in its plea, contended that none of its promoters or directors are an accused in the money laundering case and the hotel has not been built out of proceeds of crime.
Apart from challenging the show cause notice, the company has sought quashing of the provisional attachment order as well as all the proceedings initiated thereafter against it under the PMLA.
Deepak Talwar was arrested and is in custody since January 30 after being brought to India from Dubai in the money laundering case.
The ED had earlier filed a charge sheet in a trial court against him claiming that he allegedly acted as a middleman in negotiations to favour foreign private airlines, causing loss to national carrier Air India.
His son Aditya was also charge sheeted in the same case by the agency.
The agency had told the trial court that it needed to interrogate Deepak Talwar to get the names of officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, National Aviation Company of India Ltd and Air India who favoured foreign airlines, including the Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia.
It had claimed that entities directly or indirectly controlled by the accused received exorbitant amounts from the Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia and submitted a chart of USD 60.54 million received by firms directly or indirectly owned by Deepak Talwar between April 23, 2008 and February 6, 2009.
His role in some aviation deals during the previous Congress-led UPA regime is also under the scanner.
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