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Shahi’s relief plea on hold

Ranchi, May 27: Former state health and labour minister Bhanu Pratap Shahi today sought exemption from personal appearance before court in a 2009 case of money laundering that is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Appearing on behalf of Shahi in the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court of judge R.K. Choudhary, senior lawyer Rajeev Ranjan cited Section 205 of the CrPc, seeking a breather for the beleaguered leader.

Though the judge initially said that the court might consider granting partial exemption, ED lawyer S.R. Das contended that there was no provision for any partial relief under the said section.

“The ED objected to total or partial exemption to Shahi. The court will pass an appropriate order in this regard soon,” Das said.

The PMLA court, nevertheless, issued a summons to Shahi and other accused, directing them all to appear for the next hearing on June 6.

The others accused in the money laundering case include his cousin Santoshi Devi, nephew Prashant Kumar Singh, his officer on special duty Uma Shankar Malviya between 2006 and 2008 and his Delhi-based business partner Ajay Kumar Singh. Also, the court summoned Shahi’s two frontal companies — M/s Sonanchal Buildcon Private Ltd and M/s Angesh Trading Co. Private Ltd .

Shahi is accused of misusing his official position as the minister and MLA between 2005 and 2009 to amass property worth Rs 7.97 crore by swindling public money.

In March this year, the ED filed a chargesheet against Shahi, who was in the cabinet of then chief minister Madhu Koda. The ED also attached his property spread across Ranchi, Garhwa, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh earlier this month.

The agency is learnt to have expedited the process to file a chargesheet against Malviya, whose name was incorporated in the FIR at the later stage of investigations. According to sources, Malviya had made huge property between 2006 and 2008.