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Vivo Money laundering case: ED appeals Delhi HC over release of interim CEO

On Tuesday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) lodged an appeal with the Delhi High Court, contesting a trial court’s decision that ordered the release of three individuals, including the interim CEO of Chinese smartphone manufacturer VIVO, in connection with a money laundering case. The vacation judge of the Delhi HC’s bench slated the matter for Wednesday before the relevant roster judge.

The trial court had recently granted the plea of Hong Xuquan, Harinder Dahiya, and Hemant Munjal to challenge their arrest and subsequent custody, directing their immediate release. The court cited the illegal custody of the accused, as they were not presented before the court within 24 hours of their arrest.

The arrested trio contended that they were apprehended on December 21, disputing the ED’s recorded date of December 22. They submitted an application challenging the arrest, alleging its illegality. Last week, after the expiry of custodial remand, the accused appeared before the trial court, where the ED sought their judicial custody, maintaining that the arrest occurred on December 22.

The individuals arrested by the ED include Hong Xuquan alias Terry (interim CEO of VIVO India), Harinder Dahiya (Chief Financial Officer of VIVO India), and Hemant Munjal (VIVO’s consultant). Legal representation was provided by Advocates Manish Jain and Simon Benjamin for the Enforcement Directorate, while Senior Advocates Siddharth Aggarwal and Arvind Nayyar represented the accused.

This case, initiated in October, involved the ED arresting four individuals, including a Chinese national and the MD of Lava International. Recently, the Patiala House Court of Delhi acknowledged a prosecution complaint filed by the ED in connection with a Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case related to VIVO, involving Chinese national Guangwen Kuang, Lava International’s MD Hariom Rai, Nitin Garg, and Rajan Malik.

The ED’s chargesheet alleged cheating by VIVO India and revealed an intricate network set up in India by certain Chinese shareholders. The Enforcement Directorate accused Director and shareholder Zhang Jie of using forged documents, including a fake driving license, to apply for a Director Identification Number (DIN) and to open a bank account. The ED further claimed fraudulent activities in the incorporation of multiple companies controlled by Chinese nationals.

Raids conducted in October resulted in the seizure of cash exceeding Rs 10 lakhs and the arrest of four individuals, including a Chinese national, the MD of Lava International, and a Chartered Accountant. The ED initiated the money laundering case on February 3, 2022. The Daily Guardian

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