Delhi High Court grants interim bail to Lava MD Hari Om Rai in money laundering case [16.2.2024]

The Delhi High Court on Friday granted interim bail for three months to Hari Om Rai, MD of Lava International mobile company, in a money laundering case involving smartphone maker Vivo.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma gave relief to 57-year-old Rai on account of his "life-threatening" heart disease, saying he must be given an opportunity to be treated in the hospital of his choice.

"The delicate balance between life and death in cardiac emergencies underscores the importance for prioritization and specialized care required in such cases, for mitigating the profound risks posed by these medical conditions.

"Each passing moment in the face of cardiac distress is fraught with the peril of irreversible harm, and in case of any eventuality that may occur in applicant not getting proper and specialised treatment, this Court will have to bear the weight of regret," the court said in the order.

The court asked Rai to furnish a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with one surety of the like amount and to immediately surrender on the expiry of three months besides imposing conditions like not leaving the country or influencing witnesses.

"This Court is inclined to grant interim bail to the present accused/applicant for a period of three (03) months," Justice Sharma ordered.

Arrested on October 9 last year, Rai sought interim bail on the ground that he has a history of heart related issues and his medical condition has deteriorated severely in judicial custody.

The ED opposed the plea and said his condition was not of such nature which would warrant grant of interim bail on medical grounds.

Considering the medical reports of the accused, the court opined that he cannot be treated in jail.

"In these circumstances, this Court is of the considered opinion that the applicant's health condition is of such nature that it would fall within the category of 'sick' under Section 45 of PMLA and he must be given an opportunity to get himself treated in the hospital of his choice," the court observed.

"The life threatening nature of coronary artery disease or cardiac related issues cannot be equated with other category of illnesses. Such medical conditions have the potential to precipitate life-threatening events at any moment, and thus, they stand unparalleled in their urgency and criticality," it said.

The ED has filed a chargesheet against Chinese smartphone maker Vivo-India and others under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The central agency has claimed the alleged activities of the accused enabled Vivo-India to make wrongful gains that were detrimental to the economic sovereignty of the country.

The anti-money laundering agency had raided Vivo-India and people linked to it in July 2022 and claimed to have busted a major money laundering racket involving Chinese nationals and multiple Indian companies.

The ED had then alleged that a whopping Rs 62,476 crore was "illegally" transferred by Vivo-India to China to avoid payment of taxes in India.

The company had rejected the allegations, saying it "firmly adheres to its ethical principles and remains dedicated to legal compliance.

17 Feb 2024