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Avantha case: Court allows Rana Kapoor’s lawyer to be present during ED’s questioning

A special court on Tuesday allowed Yes Bank co-founder Rana Kapoor‘s lawyer to remain present during the recording of Kapoor’s statement by the Enforcement Directorate in a case related to the Avantha group. Kapoor is currently in judicial custody after being arrested in March 2020 in the alleged Yes Bank fraud case.

The ED is probing an alleged transaction between the Avantha Group of Companies’ promoter Gautam Thapar and Rana Kapoor and his wife.

Following Thapar’s arrest earlier this month, the probe agency had moved the special court for the Prevention of Money Laundering Act seeking permission to interrogate Kapoor in prison.

On August 20, the court permitted the ED to interrogate Kapoor in judicial custody from Wednesday to Friday this week. Kapoor opposed the order, saying it was passed without hearing him.

His lawyers Vijay Agarwal and Rahul Agarwal had alternatively sought the presence of lawyers while Kapoor was interrogated.

Special judge M G Deshpande, after hearing both the sides, directed that Kapoor’s lawyer be allowed to be present.

“The advocate should be made to sit at a distance beyond hearing range, but within visible distance and the lawyer must be prepared to be present whenever Kapoor is called upon to attend such recording of statement,” the court said. The ED case followed an FIR lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

As per the FIR, Rana Kapoor, then MD and CEO of Yes Bank, obtained illegal gratification in the form of a property in a prime location in Delhi belonging to Avantha Reality Ltd (ARL) at much less than the market value.

It was a quid pro quo for sanctioning a loan to ARL and extending concessions and waivers in the existing loans provided to Avantha Group, the ED alleged.

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