The City Sessions Court on Thursday rejected the bail plea of Rose Valley chairman Gautam Kundu and sent him for five days in Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody, till March 31. He was arrested by the ED on Wednesday under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Chief Judge Md Mumtaz Khan in his order said that bail was rejected looking at the gravity of the case and in protection of the interest of investors. Kundu’s lawyers, Sandipan Ganguly, Arindam Sarkar and Sanjay Dasgupta said that the arrest was illegal as according to a division bench ruling of the Calcutta High Court, no coercive action could be taken against Kundu till further orders.
ED lawyers, Abhijit Bhadra and Bhaskar Prasad Banerjee, however, said the central agency had full right to arrest Kundu under section 19 of the PMLA. They added that a lot of evidence have been gathered against Kundu which would need to be verified by interrogating him and that he might try to influence or intimidate witnesses if granted bail.
Long before Kundu was produced at the court, hundreds of agents and staff members of Rose Valley group had gathered outside the court and demonstrated, chanting slogans for release of Kundu. They said that Kundu had built up a business empire which helped thousands in earning a livelihood and blamed the media for showing the company in poor light. They even vented their anger on some media persons by beating them up and breaking cameras.
Media persons were also attacked outside the ED office at CGO complex in Salt Lake. “Even if some units of Rose Valley shut down, hundreds of people would be rendered jobless overnight,” said an agent.
Problems had cropped up at Rose Valley hotels and resorts at Digha and Mandarmani since last night. “It is quite natural when the head of the family had been affected, we cannot live completely insulated. People had come and expressed their discontent over the whole thing. We have had a discussion with them and satisfied, they left. Rose Valley Hotels have been operating independently so far with self generated revenue and even during this weekend, the entire resort at Mandarmani is fully booked showing people’s confidence on us. We have also got corporate bookings,” said a senior official of the company.