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Delhi court grants bail to Chinese national accused of illegally staying in India: ‘Right to bail recognition of presumption of innocence’

Luo Sang has been accused by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of money laundering by carrying out illegal business through companies created based on forged documents.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: July 25, 2021 7:49:02 am
The ED contended that during this period, Luo Sang married a woman from Manipur and succeeded in getting a passport from Manipur.

A Delhi court granted bail to a Chinese national accused of illegally staying in India and securing a passport by marrying an Indian woman, observing that right to bail is a statutory recognition of the sacrosanct principle of presumption of innocence.

Luo Sang has been accused by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of money laundering by carrying out illegal business through companies created based on forged documents.

The ED contended that during this period, Sang married a woman from Manipur and succeeded in getting a passport from Manipur. It is submitted that on the basis of these false and fabricated documents, he incorporated a company.

The ED had contended that Section 45 (offences to be cognizable and non-bailable) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) places a statutory bar on grant of bail. The investigative agency had argued that the burden of proof was on the accused person to show that he was not involved in money laundering, which was not proved by Sang, hence his bail must be rejected.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana, in his order observed, “Right of bail is in fact a statutory recognition of sacrosanct principle of presumption of innocence. There is no rule of law or prudence which warrants that in economic offence cases, bail cannot be granted at all.”

Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa, who appeared on behalf of Sang, argued that his client was “carrying out legitimate businesses of customs clearance and that his consultancy and was not connected to any agreements mentioned in the prosecution complaint”.

Pahwa stated that Sang had Tibetan roots.

The court agreed with Pahwa’s submission that “proceeds of crime is a sine qua non (an essential condition) for the commission of offence of money laundering”.

The court said that the prosecution fairly conceded that “the source of money involved in the instant case is still under investigation” and that there is no “material available with the ED to establish that the money involved in the present case came from any tainted source”.

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