Money Laundering Case: Delhi HC Denies to Extend Interim Bail of Unitech’s Founder Ramesh Chandra

Ramesh Chandra

The Delhi High Court declined to further extend the interim medical bail granted to realty firm Unitech’s founder Ramesh Chandra in a money laundering case and directed him to surrender before the jail superintendent on Saturday.

Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta noted that the petitioner was implicated in serious offenses involving the diversion of over Rs 5,000 crore belonging to home buyers, who were “duped” and are now homeless. He cannot assert bail as a matter of right solely for treatment at a specialized hospital of his choosing, the judge stated. However, the court directed the jail superintendent to ensure that necessary medical treatment is provided to Chandra according to jail regulations to safeguard his life.

“In the facts and circumstances, petitioner is directed to surrender before the Superintendent Jail on 16.03.2024 and interim bail is extended till then,” the court said.

“Superintendent Jail is further directed to ensure that in case of any aggravation of medical condition of petitioner or if the circumstances so warrant, petitioner shall be immediately referred to G.B. Pant Hospital or any other specialized government hospital for necessary treatment, ensuring the provision of necessary medical facilities as per jail rules,” ordered the court.

It clarified that the petitioner shall be evaluated at least twice a week for continuity of medical treatment. Chandra was initially granted an eight-week interim bail on July 28, 2022, by the high court which was extended from time to time as there was no improvement in his condition. Chandra’s counsel sought a further extension of the interim bail on grounds that he was over 85 years of age and suffered from poor health which required continuous monitoring and treatment.

The Enforcement Directorate opposed any extension of the interim bail, stating that as per the report of an AIIMS medical board, his sickness was not life-threatening and treatment was feasible in jail. The court observed that for grant of bail on medical grounds under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the sickness has to be serious and life-threatening, and such treatment must be required that cannot be provided in the jail hospital or in custody.

“Petitioner, who was one of the Directors of Unitech Limited, is involved in serious offenses, involving diversion of funds to the tune of about Rs.5,826 crore belonging to home buyers, who stand duped and are shelterless,” the court observed. “In view of medical opinion, the petitioner cannot claim bail as a matter of right for treatment only at a specialized hospital of his choice,” it stated.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte