The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today alleged before a Delhi court that journalist Upender Rai projected properties, worth over Rs 45.98 crore, which he generated through "blackmail" and "extortion" as a scribe, as untainted.
The ED has sought Rai's prosecution for the offence of money laundering in its charge sheet filed before Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora, who put up the matter for consideration on August 8.
The agency in its prosecution complaint, ED's equivalent to a charge sheet, filed by special public prosecutors N K Matta and Nitesh Rana, the agency told the court that Rai was a journalist, who crafted leverage out of his access to government offices as a media person.
"He took undue advantage of his connections with several government officials to gain access to confidential information available with them about the penal proceedings being contemplated against various defaulters, at times in advance.
"After having received references from his connections in government agencies in respect of different prospective entities the accused, Upendra Rai, with his mischievous motives, would get friendly with them and used to gather confidential information to finally blackmail them to extort money," the charge sheet, filed through advocate A R Aditya, said.
It said, subsequently, Rai would force his targeted victims to execute a sham consultancy agreement with him to legitimise and project the proceeds of his crime or properties involved in money laundering as untainted money.
"He also used to force his victims for reimbursement of expenses on luxury travel, and stay. With this exploits of crime he used to live a lavish life style," the charge sheet said.
The accused also used "investigative journalism propaganda" to fetch confidential information of several parties and, would thereafter, approach them and threaten of publishing such information of them in the media if they did not succumb to his demand for money, it said.
The agency further said Rai used the "ill-gotten" money to acquire various movable and immovable properties in his or in the name of his family members, in his personal and travel expenses, and also used it to repay loans taken from financial organisations to acquire various properties.
"In order to launder the money earned out from his criminal activities, Rai took the services of accommodation entry operators and rotated/layered huge money through a web of shell companies and finally received the money into his as well as bank accounts of his family members/associates as untainted properties," the ED said.
In its charge sheet, the agency has arrayed 68 documents, including bank records, statements of witnesses and invoices raised by various firms owned and controlled by Rai and 35 witnesses, including officers of the ED and bank officials.
He was arrested on June 8 by the ED under the PMLA at the Tihar jail here, moments after he secured bail in a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case related to alleged extortion and dubious financial transactions.
The ED had registered a money laundering case against him based on the CBI FIR related to alleged extortion and dubious financial transactions.
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