Delhi High Court in response to the plea by ED issues notice to the officials of VIVO

Guneet Mayall

January 10, 2024

Delhi High Court in response to the plea by ED issues notice to the officials of VIVO

The Enforcement Directorate (“ED”) after registering a case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (“PMLA”) back in February 2022 and duly conducting the primary investigation alleged in July 2023 that INR 62,476 Crore was illegally transferred by Vivo India to China to avoid payment of taxes in India following the Base Erosion Profit Shifting (“BEPS”) mechanism pursuant to which ED raided the premises of Vivo India and its officials for planning and implementing siphoning of money involving Chinese nationals and Indian Companies.

The three accused arrested by the Enforcement Directorate were Hong Xuquan, interim Chief Executive Officer of VIVO India; Harinder Dahiya, Chief Financial Officer of VIVO India and Hemant Munjal, consultant for VIVO India (“the Three Accused”). However, the Three Accused alleged that they were arrested on December 21st, 2023, and not on December 22nd, 2023, as stated by the ED and hence they were not produced within the stipulated time of twenty-four (24) of the arrest before the court, resulting to illegal custody. In response, the counsel of the ED argued that the premises of the Three Accused were searched on December 21st and thereafter they were taken to the office of ED for questioning and were formally arrested only on December 22nd.

The trial court, after observing the plea moved by the Three Accused challenging their arrest as unsustainable and subsequent custody as illegal, non-est and void passed an order on December 30th, 2023, directing their immediate release.

The ED aggrieved by the order of the trial court approached the High Court of Delhi on Tuesday January 02nd, 2024, challenging the release of the Three Accused whereby the vacation judge of Delhi High Court bench listed the matter for Wednesday January 03rd, 2024, and directed the Three Accused to file their replies in a week to a plea by the ED challenging the trial court order for their release.

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