Court asks ED to expedite Sanjay Bhandari’s extradition, issues summon

“I take cognisance of an offence under the Prevention of Money laundering Act (PMLA),” said Special Judge Shailender Malik, as he summoned Bhandari and the other accused for their appearance.

New Delhi: A Delhi court has taken the cognisance of the chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari and others and directed the agency to expedite the process of his extradition from the UK.

On June 1, the ED had filed the chargesheet in connection with a money laundering case against Bhandari for alleged possession of undisclosed assets abroad. According to the probe agency, he allegedly stashed black money abroad to evade taxes, thereby causing huge financial loss to the exchequer.

“I take cognisance of an offence under the Prevention of Money laundering Act (PMLA),” said Special Judge Shailender Malik, as he summoned Bhandari and the other accused for their appearance.

Noting that Bhandari is already escaping the process of law, he Malik said, “With regard to Sanjay Bhandari, the ED is directed to expedite the process of his extradition so that the said accused can be brought to India for trial in accordance with the law.”

The judge further noted that the extradition proceedings against Bhandari are pending with the UK authorities besides continuation of proceedings to declare him a fugitive economic offender (FEO).

The other accused besides Bhandari have been summoned by the court to appear before it on November 24 in connection with the case.

According to ED officials, this is the first chargesheet against Bhandari, who fled to the UK in October 2016. An ED statement said that a complaint under Section 51(1) of the Black Money Act was filed against Bhandari in the lower court by the Income Tax authorities in pursuance with the proceedings initiated against him by the Income Tax Department under the said Act.

“Our investigation revealed that Bhandari owned assets abroad, incorporated various entities in the UAE as owner or beneficiary and also had financial interest in an entity incorporated in Panama,” the agency said.

The ED said that it has also been revealed that all those foreign assets and entities were not disclosed by Bhandari to the Income Tax authorities in India.

Bhandari is under probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a Rs 2,895 crore deal for 75 Pilatus basic trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force in 2009.

An Interpol red corner notice is pending against Bhandari, who is also under probe in Robert Vadra’s alleged London properties case.

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