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Delhi Spl court dismisses default bail plea of PFI leaders in money laundering case
New Delhi: A Special Court of Delhi has dismissed the default bail petition of Perwez Ahmad (President, PFI Delhi), Md Ilias (General Secretary, PFI Delhi), and Abdul Muqeet (Office Secretary, PCI, Delhi) in relation to their alleged involvement in the offence of money laundering in the guise of cash donations registered by Enforcement Directorate (ED) against banned outfit Popular Front of India (PFI).
The Additional Sessions Judge Shailender Malik, in an order passed on July 25, 2023, said "I do not find any case made out for defauylt bail. More particularly when the judgment of Apex Court in the Ritu Chhabaria case has been stayed by the Apex Court itself, laying down the guidelines that every prayer for default bail u/s 167 (2) CrPC would be examined on its merits and peculiar facts and circumstances of each case." Even otherwise, any observation given in peculiar facts and circumstances of one case cannot be considered to be a precedent when no specific legal proposition has been laid down. As such the judgment of the Ritu Chhabaria case (supra) has been of no help to the accused/applicants. For the reasons so stated, applications stand dismissed, said the Judge.
Court noted that carrying "further investigation" does, by itself mean that the earlier investigation was incomplete. The law permits investigating agencies to carry on "further investigation" given the process and activities of money laundering offences.
Earlier, Shailender Malik had decided to send all three accused to Judicial Custody for fourteen days, after ED didn't seek further custodial remand of them.
Advocate NK Matta, Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) for ED submitted that merely because the further investigation of ED is going on, it cannot be assumed that the investigation of ED remained incomplete for claim of default bail under section 167 (2) CrPC, noted the court.
ED also submitted that section 44 Clause 2 of explanation added by way of amendment of 2019 clearly stipulates that ED can carry out further investigation for "further evidence" as well as qua other accused persons.
According to the bail plea, the accused/applicants stated that ED has filed a complaint (Chargesheet) in the present case without completing the investigation and thereby accused have been deprived of their right to get default bail under section 167(2) CrPC It is stated that a copy of the complaint has been supplied to the accused persons after 116 days of their arrest.
According to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), "Delhi Unit of Popular Front of India (PFI) Perwez Ahmad, President, Delhi PFI since 2018, was part of a criminal conspiracy. He admitted having looked after the collection of funds in Delhi. Investigation revealed that such fund collection exercise was a sham and was falsely projected to be received from PFI sympathizers whereas statements of individuals, projected as contributors, revealed that these transactions were bogus. Hence, cash from suspicious sources was nothing but proceeds of crime generated out of criminal conspiracy."
It is evident that Perwez Ahmad deliberately withheld disclosure of true facts and deliberately lied and tried to mislead the investigating officer during the recording of his statements under Section 50 of PMLA, 2002, said the ED in court earlier.
ED earlier stated that the PMLA investigation against PFI in a matter registered in 2018 revealed that more than Rs. 120 Crore have been deposited in the accounts of PFI & related entities over the years and that a very large part of the same has been deposited in cash.
According to the ED, It recently found inputs against the PFI for "organizing a training camp with an intent to cause disturbance during Prime Minster Narendra Modi's visit in Bihar's capital Patna on July 12 last year".
Besides, during the course of the investigation, the agencies have found details of numerous bank accounts of PFI.
The revelation came in two separate remand copies of the Enforcement Directorate-- one submitted before a special judge in Lucknow against Muhammed Shafeeque Payeth, resident of Kozhikode in Kerala, and the other against Perwez Ahmed before a special court in Delhi.
Both Payeth and Ahmed were arrested from Kerala and Delhi respectively in September last year during a first-ever largest search operation conducted by a joint team of ED and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and state police forces, arresting 106 PFI members from 15 states. (ANI)