Case Title: Mandhir Singh Todd v. Directorate of Enforcement
Date of Decision: 21st September 2023
Case Number: CRL.M.C. 289/2023
Coram: Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma
This case involves a petition filed by Mandhir Singh Todd, a British citizen of Indian origin, seeking the setting aside of an impugned order dated 11th October 2022 issued by the Central District Court Tis Hazari. The order had declined Todd’s application to set aside a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against him and to permit him to travel to London for medical treatment related to his rare eye condition.
Mandhir Singh Todd is a director in two Indian companies dealing with luxury cars. HDFC bank had provided credit facilities to these companies based on financial documents provided by Todd, and a Deed of Hypothecation was executed. Subsequently, it was discovered that Todd had submitted forged documents to obtain these facilities, leading to substantial losses for the bank. Further investigation revealed several fraudulent practices, including misrepresentation of stock, diversion of sale proceeds, and acquiring proceeds of crime amounting to 115 crores.
- Whether the petitioner should be granted permission to travel to London for medical treatment?
- Should the Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against the petitioner be set aside or suspended?
Contentions of the Parties
Petitioner (Todd’s Arguments):
- Todd argued that he needed to travel to London for rare medical treatment unavailable in India.
- He had already undergone eye surgery twice for his condition.
- He was willing to provide additional sureties, surrender family passports, and appear via video conference when needed.
Respondent (ED’s Arguments):
- The accused is involved in a money laundering case with substantial proceeds of crime.
- There is a risk of him fleeing the country, and India does not have extradition treaties with certain countries where he has properties.
- The treatment sought was available in India.
Observation and Analysis
The court considered the seriousness of the allegations, the availability of treatment in India, and the risk of the accused fleeing the country. It referenced previous judgments and upheld the lower court’s decision, emphasizing the importance of balancing an individual’s right to travel with the prosecution’s right to ensure trial attendance.
Decision and Conclusion
The High Court of Delhi upheld the lower court’s decision, dismissing Todd’s petition. It concluded that the treatment he sought was available in India, and there were serious allegations against him, making it crucial for him to attend trial. Todd’s request to set aside the Look Out Circular and travel to London was denied.
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Written by – Ananya Chaudhary