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Delhi Riots: Court Denies Bail To Former AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain In Money Laundering Case

Nupur Thapliyal
6 March 2022 3:27 AM GMT
Delhi Riots: Court Denies Bail To Former AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain In Money Laundering Case
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A Delhi Court on Saturday denied bail to former Aam Aadmi Party Councillor Tahir Hussain in a money laundering case registered against him in connection with the North East Delhi riots of 2020. Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat denied bail to Hussain in a case registered by Enforcement Directorate under sec. 3, 4 and 70 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The case was...

A Delhi Court on Saturday denied bail to former Aam Aadmi Party Councillor Tahir Hussain in a money laundering case registered against him in connection with the North East Delhi riots of 2020.

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat denied bail to Hussain in a case registered by Enforcement Directorate under sec. 3, 4 and 70 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The case was registered after the registration of three FIRs registered in relation to Delhi riots namely FIR No. 59/2020, FIR No. 65/2020 and FIR No. 88/2020.

The Court had taken cognizance of the matter in 2020 under Section 70, punishable under Section 4 of PMLA, 2002. Significantly, the Enforcement Directorate had filed a Complaint against Tahir under Section 44 & 45 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 for commission of the offence of money laundering as defined under Section 3 read with Section 70, punishable under Section 4 of PMLA, 2002.

As per the complaint, accused Tahir Hussain hatched a conspiracy with his associates to fraudulently withdraw money from the accounts of certain companies i.e. M/s. Show Effect Advertisement Pvt. Ltd. (SEAPL), M/s. Essence Cellcom Pvt. Ltd. (ECPL) and M/s. Essence Global Services Pvt. Ltd. (EGSPL) owned and controlled by him through bogus and malafide transactions with bogus entry operator on the strength of fake bills and he was the ultimate beneficiary of laundered money.

It was the prosecution's case that the money so obtained as a result of the criminal activity of the offence of criminal conspiracy was the proceeds of crime and that the money was put to use during the Riots in North­East Delhi in February 2020.

"…on prima facie reading of the complaint and material placed on record and considering the embargo of Section 45(1) PMLA, it cannot be held that the applicant is not guilty of the alleged offences or that he is not likely to commit any such offence while on bail," the Court said while denying bail to Hussain.

Advocate Rizwan appearing for Hussain argued that a bare look into the complaint and the investigation by the Directorate of Enforcement showed that Hussain can at best be held liable and prosecuted for the offence under Section 122 of GST Act for bogus and fake invoices.

It was also argued that two other persons namely Nitesh Gupta and Mohd. Akram were not made accused in the case and that the investigation for the period prior to 2019 was irrelevant.

On the other hand, the ED argued that Tahir Hussain was the main conspirator involved in the acts of criminal conspiracy, cheating and falsification and forgery of documents which resulted in fraudulent removal of money from the accounts of certain companies.

It was argued that under the instructions of Tahir Hussain, funds were transferred from companies owned/controlled by him to the accounts of fictitious/bogus entities created by entry operators.

"The contention of the Ld. Counsel for accused that if one accused person is granted pardon, then there can be no criminal conspiracy since accused cannot conspire with himself, is an incorrect proposition. What the law requires for a conspiracy is an involvement of two or more persons. The granting of pardon to one, on his statement and the stand of the prosecution, does not detract from the fact that they were accused in this matter for the offence of money laundering," the Court noted.

It added "Moreover, the fact that other co­ accused was not an accused in other FIRs i.e. FIR No. 59/20, FIR No. 65/20 & FIR No. 88/20, does not mean that he cannot be an accused in the present matter since both IPC and PMLA are different statutes to deal with different kinds of offences and both operate in their own spheres. The predicate offence and the predicate case is required for initiation of complaint by the Directorate of Enforcement, which then has to investigate into the aspect of money laundering which is in its domain."

The Court noted that there were statements of witnesses and the accused recorded under Section 50 of PMLA which were admissible and that to contend that those statements were false or untruthful or contain discrepancies was not to be entertained at the stage of bail.

Title: State Vs. Tahir Hussain

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