The Delhi High Court on Tuesday reserved an order on the extension of Interim bail granted to Lava's MD Hari Om Rai on medical grounds. He has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case related to Chinese Mobile company Vivo.

Hari Om Rai was granted three months interim bail on February 16 which is expiring on May 15. Now he is seeking a six-month extension of interim bail in view of his heart condition. Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma after hearing the submissions of the petitioner and ED reserved the order.

Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa appeared for Rai. He submitted that Rai's health condition is deteriorating and there can be heart failure at any time. He also referred to the report by Max Hospital which said that there is 100 per cent blockage in one artery.

While reserving the order, Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said," In case I need a medical report, I will call for it from AIIMS." The petitioner's counsel submitted that medical documents from AIIMS have been provided which need to be verified by the ED. The High Court on February 16th granted three months interim bail to Rai on health grounds.

The High Court, while granting him interim bail, had said “This Court is of the considered the opinion that the applicant’s health condition is of such nature that it would fall within the category of sick under Section 45 of PMLA and he must be allowed to get himself treated in the hospital of his choice.”

“The delicate balance between life and death in cardiac emergencies underscores the importance of prioritisation and specialised care required in such cases, for mitigating the profound risks posed by these medical conditions. Each passing moment in the face of cardiac distress is fraught with the peril of irreversible harm and in case of any eventuality that may occur in the applicant not getting proper and specialised treatment, this Court will have to bear the weight of regret,” the court had said.

Delhi High Court further noted, “The applicant is aged about 57 years, is admittedly suffering from heart-related issues including angina and has been advised coronary angiography, and the same is discernible from all the medical reports filed by the jail Superintendent himself.”

“In this Court‘s opinion, even otherwise, The life-threatening nature of coronary artery disease or cardiac-related issues cannot be equated with another category of illnesses. Such medical conditions have the potential to precipitate life-threatening events at any moment, and thus, they stand unparalleled in their urgency and criticality,” said the court.

Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa, with his advocates Abhay Raj Varma, Arjun Rekhi, P. Rathi, Namisha and Sanskriti S. Gupta had appeared for the applicant Hari Om Rai in the matter. Earlier the trial court while denying the interim bail to Hari Om Rai, stated that, “Given the medical reports received from the Jail Superintendent, this Court is of the opinion that the applicant is not suffering from any life-threatening condition or sickness or infirmity which involves danger to his life and for which treatment cannot be provided in jail. He has been provided treatment for each and every ailment which he has complained during judicial custody.”

“The applicant neither falls in the category of “sick” nor “infirm” as per proviso to Section 45(1) PMLA. The plea for releasing the accused on medical grounds as per the said provision is accordingly dismissed,” said the Court. Earlier, Hari Om Rai through a plea explained that since Vivo China wanted to enter India, the applicant met with Shen Wei, CEO of Vivo China in the year 2013. At that time, Vivo and LAVA were contemplating a joint venture where 25 per cent shares would be held by LAVA.

However, this eventually never fructified and Vivo decided to independently conduct it’s business in India. He further stated that negotiations and business talks between the applicant and the representatives of Vivo China failed and did not meet a fruitful end due to which the applicant stopped pursuing the said opportunity and had nothing to do with Vivo China and or it’s representatives after 2014. Merely because, over the years, the international relations between India and China have deteriorated, it would not mean that the applicant committed an offence at the relevant time when there were, in fact, friendly business relations between the two countries.

According to the ED, certain Chinese shareholders of Grand Prospect International Communication Private Ltd. incorporated the company on the basis of forged identification documents and falsified addresses. During the course of enquiry, certain fraudulent activities were found by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The company was not reported as a subsidiary of Vivo in the official records, despite publicly presenting itself as such, said the ED.

ED further alleged that director and shareholder Zhang Jie used a false driving licence for applying Director Identification Number for giving his Shillong address and also used his fake driving licence in opening the bank account. With the allegations of cheating an FIR in Police station Kalkaji, South East Delhi registered under Section 417/120B/420 IPC and another FIR also registered under Section 417/420/468/471/120B IPC by the Economic Offence Wing, Delhi Police based on the complaint filed by Manjit Singh, the then Deputy Registrar of Companies, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, NCT of Delhi.

ED further alleged that soon after incorporation of Vivo, India, 19 more companies including GPICPL were incorporated across India, completely controlled by Chinese Nationals. The accused Bin Luo was the founding Director of Vivo India, GPICPL and all other 18 entities at the time of their incorporation and the accused Nitin Garg, had assisted in the incorporation of most of the companies of Vivo Group.

According to the Enforcement Directorate, raids were on the premises of the accused on 9th October and seized cash amounting to more than ₹10 lakhs and arrested four accused who have been identified as Guangwen Kyang , the Chinese National, Hari Om Rai, the MD of Lava International, Rajan Malik, and Nitin Garg, a Chartered Accountant. The probe had revealed that the PMLA investigation by ED was initiated by registering a money laundering case on February 3, 2022.

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