Excise policy case: Delhi HC seeks ED’s reply on Hyderabad bizman Arun Pillai’s bail plea


Before a bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma, Advocate Nitesh Rana said that there was no iota of evidence to keep Pillai in jail, who was arrested by the probe agency on March 6.

The matter is posted to be heard next on November 3.

A Delhi court had earlier dismissed the interim bail application of Pillai, sought on medical ground, stating that it is “devoid of any merit”.

In June, the trial court also refused him bail saying that his involvement in the matter was more serious than that of some other accused who are still incarcerated.

The judge had said: “This court is prima facie of the view that there is a genuine case made out by the investigating agency before this court showing active involvement of the applicant in commission of the alleged offence of money laundering and thus, this court is not able to arrive at any finding contrary to the said view.”

The court had stated that the evidence and material collected during the investigation speaks volumes of his involvement in commission of the alleged offence of money laundering and his association with the other conspirators.

Pillai’s counsel had argued that his client’s arrest in the case was not legal or justified.

The judge rejecting the submission had said that the regular bail applications of other co-accused in this case — Sameer Mahandru, Vijay Nair, Abhishek Boinpally, Benoy Babu, P. Sarath Chandra Reddy, Raghav Magunta and Manish Sisodia — stand already dismissed by this court and the role of this applicant in commission of the alleged offence of money laundering is found to be more serious and grave than the role played by some of the above co-accused.

The court had further said that Pillai was not only involved in mere conspiracy, but based on initial evidence, he was also linked to various actions concerning the proceeds. These actions involved hiding, owning, obtaining, or utilising the proceeds and presenting them as legitimate assets.

Moreover, the court had stated that the evidence gathered against Pillai indicated, on the surface, that he willingly participated in these activities and was fully aware of their nature and intentions.

The court had highlighted that Pillai played a significant and active role in the conspiracy, the formation of a cartel, and the payment and repayment of kickbacks.

This conclusion was based on multiple statements provided not only by Pillai himself but also by other accused individuals, including Dinesh Arora, who is an accused-turned-approver in a related corruption case.

In addition, the judge had dismissed an argument put forth by Pillai’s counsel regarding the retraction of his statements.

The judge had expressed doubts about the circumstances and manner in which the retraction was made, suggesting that it appeared to be an afterthought or influenced by external factors.

The ED named the cartel ‘South Group’, which includes BRS leader K. Kavitha; Sarath Reddy, the promoter of Aurobindo Pharma; YSRCP MP from Ongole Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy; his son Raghav Magunta and others.

The South Group was represented by Pillai, Abhishek Boinpally and Babu, the agency claimed.



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