ED files a money laundering case against media baron Raghav Bahl

Raghav Bahl

The Enforcement Directorate has filed a money laundering case against media baron Raghav Bahl for alleged laundering of funds to purchase an undisclosed foreign asset, officials said Friday.

They 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 had been filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ECIR was filed after going into the merits of the I-T department chargesheet and the evidences recorded in it, they said.

The I-T Department had recently filed a chargesheet against Bahl before a court in Meerut under the provisions of the anti-black money law or the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act of 2015.

Bahl acknowledged the Enforcement Directorate action, saying the agency has acted after taking cognisance of the tax department chargesheet filed for alleged non-disclosure of GBP 2.38 lakh paid towards the purchase of a property in London.

He alleged that he was "getting the sense of being hounded for doing no wrong despite paying all taxes honestly and diligently."

"I also have no defaults when it comes to the debt obligations of myself or my business concerns," he said in a letter emailed to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the chiefs of the CBDT and the ED.

The letter has been shared with PTI by his organisation.

Bahl, in the letter, said he and his wife had made" full disclosures" in their tax returns which address the legal issues in the notices issued by the I-T Department which claimed the London property was an undisclosed asset created by pumping in black money.

"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.

Bahl said he was writing to the FM "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.

The tax department had raided Bahl's premises in Noida in October last year on charges of "bogus long term capital gains (LTCG) received by various beneficiaries" and other charges of tax evasion.

Bahl is the founder of the Quint news portal and the Network18 group and a known media entrepreneur.


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