Money Laundering Case: Delhi Court Grants Bail to Conman Sanjay Sherpuria

Sanjay Sherpuria

A Delhi court has granted bail to Sanjay Prakash Rai alias Sanjay Sherpuria, described as a “conman” accused of cheating several individuals by purportedly leveraging his supposed connections with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), senior bureaucrats, and politicians, in a money-laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) alleged that Rai defrauded businessman Gaurav Dalmia and his family of Rs 12 crore by instilling fear of arrest in connection with an ongoing investigation by the agency.

Additional Sessions Judge Chander Jit Singh granted bail to Rai, noting that the prosecution hadn’t indicated any previous involvement of the accused in criminal activities.

“The clean antecedents of the accused, without any prior involvement in criminal cases before the registration of the FIR alleging the commission of the scheduled offence, is a factor to be considered in assessing the possibility of the accused repeating the offence,” the judge stated.

The court accepted submissions by advocate Nitesh Rana, who argued that while the prosecution alleged people were duped, there was no evidence on record of any other cases involving the accused.

“According to the available records, the present case is the only one in which the accused is allegedly involved, with no other pending cases against him. Therefore, it can be inferred from the evidence on record that the likelihood of the accused repeating the offence is minimal,” the judge remarked.

The court further noted that the ED had not presented any evidence indicating that the accused posed a flight risk or had attempted to contact any witnesses, which could suggest a risk of influencing them.

“In the absence of any such evidence on record, it must be concluded that the accused has satisfied the triple test,” the judge asserted.

Based on these considerations, the court concluded that the accused had met the requirements under section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as well as the triple test, and therefore granted bail.

The accused was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 1.5 lakh with two sureties of equal amounts.

Through advocate Deepak Nagar, the accused had applied for bail, arguing that the investigation against him was complete and there was no further purpose in detaining him.

The ED had filed a chargesheet against Rai under the PMLA on August 2 last year.

The money-laundering case originated from an FIR filed by the Lucknow Police, alleging that Rai misrepresented himself as having close ties to senior politicians and bureaucrats and swindled large sums of money from the public. He also purported to be an influencer, social worker, and associated with the PMO.

The federal agency arrested Rai a few months ago following searches at 42 locations across Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida, Ghazipur, Pune, and Gandhidham.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte