SC judge Justice K V Viswanathan recuses himself from hearing pleas in money laundering case against M3M group

06:20 PM Jun 26, 2023 | PTI |

Supreme Court judge Justice K V Viswanathan on Monday recused himself from hearing the pleas, including those filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in connection with a money laundering case linked to real estate firm IREO.


The ED has moved the apex court against the Delhi High Court’s June 9 order granting M3M Group owners Basant Bansal and Pankaj Bansal interim protection from arrest till July 5 in connection with the case. The pleas came up for hearing before a vacation bench of Justices A S Oka and K V Viswanathan.

Justice Viswanathan, who was a senior advocate before being elevated as a judge of the apex court last month, said he had appeared in a connected matter as a lawyer earlier.

The bench said the pleas be listed before an appropriate bench next week.

Separate pleas challenging the June 16 order of the high court, which had refused to interfere with the arrest of Basant and Pankaj Bansal in a money laundering probe linked to an alleged bribery case against a former judge and others, were also listed for hearing before the top court.


Basant and Pankaj Bansal, directors of Gurugram-based realty group M3M, were earlier arrested by the ED in connection with the money laundering probe linked to the alleged bribery case. The money laundering case in which Basant and Pankaj Bansal have been arrested pertains to a Haryana Police Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) FIR registered in April against a former special judge for ED and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cases who was posted in Panchkula, his nephew, and a third M3M group director Roop Kumar Bansal.

The high court’s June 9 orders had came on separate anticipatory bail applications by Basant and Pankaj Bansal in the case being probed by the ED.

”In the event of any arrest of the applicant, he shall be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,00,000 with two sureties of the like amount to the satisfaction of the Investigating Agency, subject to the following conditions…,” the high court had said.

It had also noted that ”primary accused” and promoter of IREO Group has already been granted regular bail in the matter.

The high court had granted the ED time till July 5 to file a status report as well as other documents in response to the pre-arrest bail pleas.

The ED had opposed the anticipatory bail pleas of the M3M Group owners.

The agency had earlier arrested M3M Director Roop Kumar Bansal in connection with the investigation against IREO and M3M groups for allegedly ”diverting, siphoning (off) and misappropriating funds of investors and customers”.

On June 1, the ED had carried out raids against the M3M Group and its directors as well as against IREO in Delhi and Gurugram.

It had later alleged in a press statement that the owners, controllers and promoters of the M3M Group — Basant Bansal, Roop Kumar Bansal, Pankaj Bansal — and other key persons deliberately avoided investigation during the raids.

The agency has alleged a ”huge amount of money running into hundreds of crores was siphoned off through the M3M Group” in this case.

In one of the transactions, the M3M Group received about Rs 400 crore from IREO through several shell companies in multiple layers, the ED claimed. The ED has been investigating IREO for the last few years on charges of diverting, siphoning off and misappropriating funds of investors and customers.


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