Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Monday granted interim bail to Rakesh Kothari, an accused in the Rs 5,395 crore hawala scam, while admitting his plea to set aside legal proceedings against him.
A two-judge bench of justices Mohinder Pal and R D Kothari granted bail, which will be in effect till the final outcome of his petition.
In his plea, Kothari said that he was arrested under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), even before a special court issued an arrest warrant against him.
Citing a Supreme Court ruling, Kothari's advocate Chetan Pandya said the legal proceedings initiated against his client should be quashed claiming the arrest was illegal.
After hearing the arguments, the high court admitted the plea. Further hearing in the case is likely to take place in due court procedure.
The ED had busted the alleged multi-crore hawala racket during their search operations in offices of some diamond traders including Afroz Fatta and Madanlal Jain, in Surat in March 2014.
The duo had made bogus import bills, claiming that they purchased the diamonds from foreign traders based in Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong.
It was alleged that using these bills the duo used to transfer money through their bank accounts. Thus, money went outside India without a single diamond being imported in India.
According to ED officials, Kothari monitored India-based operations of hawala transactions.
"Investigations revealed that Dubai and Hong Kong-based companies were controlled by Prithaviraj Kothari, Rajesh Jain and Manshukh Sanghavi (all aides of Fatta)," he said.
"Indian operations were monitored by Prithviraj Kothari's nephew Rakesh Kothari, who had been in jail since the last eleven months," he said.