The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of Enforcement Directorate (ED) on bail plea of journalist Upendra Rai, arrested in a money laundering case related to alleged extortion and dubious financial transactions.
Justice Mukta Gupta issued notice to ED and asked it to file a status report March 19 in response to Rai’s application seeking bail. A sessions court had last week declined to grant him the relief.
Senior advocate Mohit Mathur, appearing for the Delhi-based scribe, told the high court that investigative agencies, CBI and ED, were “playing with the liberty” of his client.
The lawyer said that the “vindictive approach” of the agencies was evident from the fact that he is being kept in custody even though his further interrogation was not required.
Central government’s standing counsel Amit Mahajan, appearing for ED, opposed the plea.
Before the sessions court, ED had opposed Rai’s bail plea on the ground that he may influence witnesses and hamper probe if released.
Apart from that, the agency had also contended before the lower court that he was influential and he may destroy evidence and flee from justice if he comes out of jail.
The journalist was arrested on June 8 last year 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.
He had been earlier arrested by the CBI on May 3, 2018 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-based businessman.
Rai, however, recently secured bail from the Delhi High Court in the CBI case.
The ED had registered the money laundering case against him based on the CBI FIR. Rai has denied all the allegations levelled against him.