Enforcement Directorate files a money laundering case against media baron Raghav Bahl

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Media owner Raghav Bahl has been accused of money laundering in a case filed by the Enforcement Directorate on 7 June Friday for alleged laundering of funds to purchase an undisclosed foreign asset officials said on Friday. They also said an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) a police FIR equivalent was lodged by the federal agency early this week after taking cognisance of an Income Tax Department complaint against him and others.The case is based on the Income Tax department’s complaint claims that Raghav Bahl underrated the value of investment of a London property by around GBP 2.73 lakh approximately Rs. 2.45 crore and failed to explain the source of his investment.

The case had been charged under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).”The agency has registered a case against Bahl on the basis of the IT department reports regarding money laundering,” a senior Enforcement Directorate official was quoted by news agency IANS. They also said The ECIR was filed after going into the merits of the IT department chargesheet and the evidences recorded in it.Mr Raghav Bahl who last week released a statement on the IT department chargesheet, responded by writing a letter emailed to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the chiefs of the Central Board of Direct Taxation and the Enforcement Directorate in which Raghav Bahl said he is “getting the sense of being hounded for doing no wrong despite paying all taxes honestly and diligently”.

The letter has been shared with PTI by his organisation. Mr Raghav Bahl said in the letter that he and his wife had made “full disclosures” in their tax returns which address the legal issues in the notices issued by the IT Department which claimed the London property was an undisclosed asset created by pumping in black money.Raghav Bahl also added “I have as far back as May 13 2019 through my authorised representative, provided full details relating to the amount of GBP 2.73 lakh paid to buy a property in London. I clarified these details after the Income Tax Department claimed that I allegedly failed to disclose information about this payment, as a result of which they have presumed the amount to arise from proceeds of undisclosed income ie, black money, as per two show cause notices served to me by email in the afternoon of May 1 2019.” “I have already challenged the show cause notices and subsequent acts in a writ petition before the Allahabad High Court” he said in the letter.

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Mr Raghav Bahl said he was writing to the Finance Minister “to intervene not just on my behalf but to see to it that a necessary and laudable drive to track and punish money launderers and black money hoarders is not allowed to degenerate into diversion of resources to hound innocents”. “Indeed, such action takes away from the authorities ability to pursue real perpetrators, which would serve to defeat the very objectives of these legislative measures, besides wasting precious judicial time and resources,” he wrote in the letter.According to a FAQ section on the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) website, “Under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme, all resident individuals, including minors, are allowed to freely remit up to USD 250,000 per financial year (April – March) for any permissible current or capital account transaction or a combination of both.Mr Raghav Bahl one of the biggest names in Indian media and is the founder of The Quint
and the Network18 group.

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