Hero MotoCorp Chairman, Pawan Kant Munjal, received a significant reprieve from the Delhi High Court as it stayed proceedings related to foreign currency against him by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). The court’s interim order on November 3 highlighted that Munjal had been exonerated by the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) on the same set of facts, a crucial detail not disclosed before the trial court.
The High Court, while hearing Munjal’s petition to quash the criminal complaint filed by DRI against him, acknowledged that Munjal had a valid case for interim protection. The order accessed by ETAuto revealed that the court granted Munjal interim protection from arrest and imposed a stay on the ongoing proceedings before the Patiala House Court.
Munjal had filed a petition seeking the quashing of a criminal complaint titled ‘Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) against Salt Experience and Management Private Limited and Others.’ The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Patiala House Court had previously issued a summoning order to Munjal in connection with the complaint, alleging offenses under Sections 135(1)(a), 135(1)(b), and 135(1)(c) read with 135(1)(i)(A) of the Customs Act, 1962, related to the evasion of customs duties.
Yashasvi Virendra, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, explained,
The Hon’ble Delhi High Court observed that Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) had already exonerated Pawan Kant in another case having substantially similar facts and allegations, and the decision of Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) was not disclosed before obtaining summoning orders against Pawan Kant from Patiala House Court.
He further added,
The Hon’ble High Court observed that Pawan Kant Munjal was able to make a case for interim protection from arrest, which was awarded along with a grant of interim stay on any further proceeding against Pawan Kant in respect of the complaint pending before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate-01 Patiala House Court.
Pawan Munjal is the son of Brijmohan Lal Munjal, the man who founded Hero MotoCorp. Pawan Munjal has been the widely respected MD of Hero MotoCorp for decades now, and is seen as an industry stalwart. The allegations of financial impropriety against him has come as a shock to the Indian auto industry. By approaching the Delhi high court, Mr. Munjal seems to be leaving no stone unturned to clear his name.