Supreme Court stays trial in laundering case against ‘lottery king’ Santiago Martin : The Tribune India

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Supreme Court stays trial in laundering case against ‘lottery king’ Santiago Martin

Supreme Court stays trial in laundering case against ‘lottery king’ Santiago Martin

Supreme Court. File photo



New Delhi, April 10

In a relief to “lottery king” Santiago Martin, whose company donated the most to political parties through electoral bonds, the Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed proceedings against him before a special court in Kerala in a money laundering case.

Acting on Martin’s petition challenging the March 16 order of Ernakulam Special PMLA court, that dismissed his petition seeking to keep in abeyance the trial in the case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), a Bench led by Justice Abhay S Oka also issued notice to the probe agency.

Coimbatore-based Future Gaming and Hotel Services, owned by Santiago Martin was the biggest buyer of electoral bonds worth Rs 1,368 crore. The SC had on February 15 struck down the electoral bonds scheme as “unconstitutional and manifestly arbitrary”, as it provided blanket anonymity to individuals and corporates making donations to political parties.

Wednesday’s order came after senior counsel Aditya Sondhi submitted on behalf of Martin that the special court should have considered that the trial in the PMLA case could commence only after the conclusion of the trial in the predicate (main) case.

The ED registers a money laundering case only on the basis of an FIR or probe initiated in corruption or tax evasion cases by the CBI, a state police or the Income Tax Department which constitute the predicate/scheduled offences.

Citing the top court’s 2022 verdict in the Vijay Madanlal Chaudhary case, Sondhi said proceedings under PMLA could not continue once there had been an acquittal or discharge in the predicate case.

Martin submitted in his petition the CBI (predicate) case, had been transferred to the Special Court on September 28, 2023, where his application for discharge was pending consideration. If he was discharged in the predicate case, there was no question of continuing with the PMLA proceedings, he submitted.

Contending that the trial of a PMLA case can commence only after the conclusion of the trial in the predicate case, Martin submitted, "No prejudice will cause to the complainant by keeping further proceedings in abeyance till the disposal of the predicate case. If further proceedings in this case are not kept in abeyance, it would cause serious prejudice, irreparable injury and harm to the petitioner." — TNS

Big donor

Coimbatore-based Future Gaming and Hotel Services, owned by Santiago Martin was the biggest buyer of electoral bonds worth Rs 1,368 crore. In 2014, the CBI had registered the case in the alleged lottery scam and filed chargesheet against Martin and others

#Kerala #Supreme Court


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