PMLA court grants bail to Jignesh Shah in money laundering case

A special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002) court has granted bail to Jignesh Shah, founder of Financial Technologies (India) Ltd (FTIL), in connection with the alleged money laundering at the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL).

Shah had been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on money laundering charges in the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) scam.

Shah was granted bail on Saturday on a bail bond of Rs2 lakh. He had pleaded for bail on Wednesday alleging his arrest in the Rs5,000 crore NSEL scam is illegal.

The court granted bail to Shah on grounds that his custody was no longer needed for investigation. He has been released on a surety of Rs2 lakh.

Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate had filed a fresh complaint seeking additional custody of Shah.

In May 2014, Shah was arrested by the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police and filed charges against him.

The ED had alleged a criminal conspiracy against Shah, in the Rs.5,574.35 crore scam at NSEL.

Aabad Ponda counsel for Shah said Shah's arrest in July violated his right to personal liberty and is illegal since law doesn't permit ED to make an arrest under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act once a court has already taken cognizance of an offence under the Act. He said a special court had already taken cognizance of the case filed earlier in which Shah is shown as the second accused.

Shah was earlier arrested by the EOW and released and the ED had chosen not to arrest him in the first complaint and hence his arrest is illegal and only a result of depositors' pressure, argued his lawyer.

The ED special counsel Hiten Venegaonkar said while the earlier arrest in the NSEL scam was of Shah in his capacity as vice-chairperson of NSEL, his arrest now is under a fresh investigation in and for his capacity as chairperson of FTIL, which is now called 63 Moons.

This fresh probe, said the ED pertains to alleged money laundering between FTIL and two of its subsidiary companies IBMA and NBHC and not into the aspect of defaulting members of NSEL.

Venegaonkar said Shah was "one face with dual identities in this entire case, one as vice chairperson of NSEL and the other as chairperson of FTIL." said the first complaint was about the NSEL and not about any fraud allegedly as chairperson of FTIL, which, in fact, is the umbrella company of NSEL, NBHC, and IBMA."