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Crime, Police And Law

Unitech Ex-Promoters Granted Bail in Homebuyer Fraud Case but Remain Jailed for Money Laundering Charges

By Jhanak Singh      08 June, 2024 01:31 PM      0 Comments
Unitech Ex Promoters Granted Bail in Homebuyer Fraud Case but Remain Jailed for Money Laundering Charges

New Delhi: A court granted bail to former Unitech promoters Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra, who are accused of defrauding home buyers. Additional Sessions Judge Navjeet Budhiraja made the decision, noting the need to balance the seriousness of the charges with the defendants' right to a speedy trial.

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police had filed an FIR against the Chandra brothers for cheating, criminal breach of trust, and criminal conspiracy. Despite being granted bail, they will remain jailed due to a separate money laundering case.

In its ruling, the court highlighted that factors such as the nature and severity of the allegations, the financial amount involved, and the number of affected investors play a significant role in bail decisions for economic offences. However, considering the extended period of incarceration and the lengthy trial process due to numerous witnesses, the court emphasized the importance of balancing the "nature and enormity of the offence" with the defendants' right to a speedy trial. The Chandra brothers have been in jail for over six years, and one of the charges, under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), carries a maximum sentence of seven years.

The court noted that the prosecution had listed over 240 witnesses, which would prolong the trial given the court's heavy caseload. Furthermore, the evidence against the accused was primarily documentary, and there were no reports of evidence tampering. Given that the defendants had already been granted bail in all FIRs except the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case, the judge concluded that regular bail was justified. ASJ Budhiraja stated, "The nature of the evidence (against them) being documentary in nature and there being no adverse report of the applicants having tampered with the evidence, the fact that in all the FIRs except the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case as informed, the applicants are already on bail, in my confirmed opinion, the case is now made out for grant of regular bail to the applicants."

The court instructed the Chandra brothers to provide bail bonds of ₹5 lakh each, along with two sureties of the same amount. It also clarified that the order should not be seen as a comment on the merits of the case.

The prosecution opposed the bail, arguing that the Chandras should not receive leniency due to their time in custody. However, defence counsel Vishal Gosain argued that the defendants met the criteria for bail as established by the Supreme Court.

Last November, the Supreme Court had permitted the Chandra brothers to seek regular bail from the appropriate district court. Previously, in March 2021, the Supreme Court had overturned a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's order granting them bail and directed their surrender to Tihar Jail authorities. Currently, the Chandra brothers are detained in separate jails in Mumbai, as per the Supreme Court's direction.

 



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