A special court on Thursday extended the businessman Sana Satish Babu's Enforcement Directorate (ED) remand till August 9 in a money laundering case filed related to controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
Babu was produced before the special court at the end of his five-day remand. Senior advocates KTS Tulsi and Salman Khurshid appeared for him.
Special Public Prosecutor DP Singh, who appeared on behalf of the ED, said, "He (Sana) needs to be confronted with various entries that have surfaced during the investigation. We want to confront him with not only Qureshi but also with other persons. We are investigating two former CBI directors and some other officers too in this case. The trail proceeds have to probe."
DP Singh further submitted that Babu was with the ED for five days and during the remand, he could not justify the account he had made. He admitted he didn't have any documentary evidence to prove the payment of the amount.
During interrogation, Sana failed to reveal true account of Rs 1.5 crore for which ED needs further remand, Singh stated.
"Certain facts emerged regarding the trail of proceeds of crime which needs to be investigated. He has no legitimate business to show and his links are found to be dubious. We have to bring it to the account that how he is linked," Singh added.
Tulsi, however, argued that the businessman's detention is "illegal."
"There is complete immunity and no provision in law to make a witness an accused. If I don't toe their line, they cannot make me an accused. Law has given a witness immunity from prosecution. I am a witness in the main case. They cannot arrest me if my deposition doesn't suit them. They have to prove my statement as a witness wrong and then there will be a separate proceeding by the court for that. I can't be forced to make a statement against somebody. They should bring evidence of falsity," he stated.
"They have not arrested Pradeep Koneru who has been called by ED 13 times. I have only been called twice. This is pick and choose. Koneru has paid much larger amount than mine," advocate Tulsi argued, to which DP Singh said, "We made him accused from a witness as the investigation reveals many things against him. We don't want to go to a stage where he is not telling anything and still enjoying the immunity. This is the stage amidst the investigation; we can make him an accused. Trial has not started and we are well within our rights."
After the arguments were concluded, special judge Anuradha Shukla Bhardwaj extended the ED remand of Babu till August 9. In the next hearing, court will also hear bail plea of Babu, which was moved by his lawyer today.
Babu was arrested by the ED on July 26 in connection with the money-laundering probe against Moin Qureshi and others. During the investigation of the case, it came to the fore that Babu was a close aide of Qureshi, who is accused of Hawala transactions through Delhi-based operators.
In October last year, on the basis of a complaint filed by Babu, a case was registered against the then CBI director Alok Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana on charges of accepting a bribe from a businessman, who was related to the case.
( With inputs from ANI )