Rana Kapoor gets bail in ED case but won't walk free yet

Kapoor has already undergone the minimum sentence without trial, the court said, adding that even if ED was empowered to conduct further probe, it had to be finished within a reasonable time and the agency could not exhaust the whole period of maximum sentence

MUMBAI: A special court in Mumbai granted bail Thursday to Yes Bank founder

Rana Kapoor

, who was arrested on March 8, 2020, in connection with a Rs 5,050-crore money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The court said Kapoor has spent more than the minimum punishment period of three years, without the framing of charges and a trial.
However, 66-year-old Kapoor will remain in jail as his bail plea in another CBI case is still pending.

The special court granted him bail under Section 436 A of the

Criminal Procedure Code

, allowing the release of undertrial prisoners upon completion of half of the maximum jail sentence.

“Till date, the applicant has undergone custody for three years, nine months, 13 days, which is more than a half of the prescribed maximum sentence of seven years (in


cases) and the minimum sentence of three years… while suffering such undue incarceration, he has already undergone the minimum sentence without trial,” special judge

MG Deshpande

Kapoor’s wife and daughter and




and Dheeraj Wadhawan are co-accused in the money laundering case.

In an 83-page order, the judge cited a table chronicling 207 dates in the case, emphasising that Kapoor was not responsible for the delays. The judge underscored the need for the ED to complete further probes within a reasonable time, preventing the exhaustion of the entire period of the maximum sentence.
Despite the ED’s plea to stay the bail order, the judge refused, stating that there is ample time for the central agency to challenge the decision, even after the winter vacation, “unless the accused is released on bail in CBI special case”.
The judge highlighted the principle that an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, underscoring the impact of prolonged undue incarceration on the fundamental right to life and personal liberty. He asked: “In case, in future, the accused is acquitted, what about his undue incarceration amounting to the minimum sentence which he has undergone for no reasons?”
While the prosecution had submitted draft charges in the case, the trial had not commenced. The judge referred to national and city statistics on the disposal of PMLA cases, noting the slow pace of such trials. “Trial of PMLA case is really gigantic in view of Section 44(1)(c) of the Act. Therefore, such trials proceed with very slow speed. This court is the court of first instance dealing with 79 gigantic trials of the PMLA,” the judge said.
Section 44(1)(c) of the PMLA requires trials in scheduled offences and money-laundering cases to be conducted together.

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