26 Aug 2023 1:52 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to alleged Popular Front of India (PFI) leader Abdul Razak Peediyakkal in a PMLA Case where he has been accused of collecting and laundering funds of over Rs. 20 crores for the PFI. The Apex Court directed the trial court to impose bail conditions including to appear before the investigating officer of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) once a week,...
The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to alleged Popular Front of India (PFI) leader Abdul Razak Peediyakkal in a PMLA Case where he has been accused of collecting and laundering funds of over Rs. 20 crores for the PFI. The Apex Court directed the trial court to impose bail conditions including to appear before the investigating officer of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) once a week, to surrender his passport and to not leave the state of Uttar Pradesh until completion of trial.
Abdul Razak had approached the Apex Court after the High Court of Allahabad had refused to grant him bail.
A division bench of Justice AS Bopanna and Justice MM Sundresh, while granting bail, noted that the material witnesses had been examined. The Top Court also took note of the fact that all other co accused in the matter had been granted bail and that the Appellant had been in custody since 10.03.2022.
"At the outset we take note, this court while adjourning the matter on 21.07.2023, had made a preliminary assessment of the case and had in that light adjourned the matter to enable the respondents to examine the material witnesses in the meanwhile. As on today, there is no dispute that the material witnesses have been examined. The ASG would submit that in a matter of present nature, the grant of bail would not be justified. Taking into consideration all aspects of the matter, we note that the co accused are already on bail and the appellant has been in incarceration from 10.03.2022. Therefore in this circumstance, we are of the opinion that there is no need to retain the Appellant in custody. We direct that the Appellant be released on bail subject to appropriate conditions being imposed by the trial court. Among the conditions to be imposed the trial court shall also direct the appellant to appear before the investigating officer of the Enforcement Directorate once a week and also that the Appellant shall not leave the state of Uttar Pradesh until the trial is complete, the passport is also to be surrendered if already not surrendered." the Court said in its order.
ASG SV Raju opposed the bail and submitted that the Appellant has been involved in terrorist activities and has been accused of collecting funds for the same. However, Justice Bopanna remarked that if he violates bail conditions, the ED may seek cancellation of bail. The ASG also argued that that the roles of the co accused who have already been granted bail are different and that Razak's role is much graver.
The Enforcement Directorate raided Peediyakkal’s residence as well as the Munnar Villa Vista Project (MVVP) site in December 2021 wherein it found several discrepancies in the receipt of suspicious foreign funds from abroad and also in cash expenses incurred and recorded in the books of accounts.
Thereafter he was arrested and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a chargesheet against him and his co-accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before the Special PMLA Court in Lucknow.
The chargesheet filed by the ED states that Abdul Razak and his co accused hatched a conspiracy to raise funds in India as well as abroad for the purpose of using the same for PFI’s unlawful activities.
The ED has also alleged that Peediyakkal was the largest shareholder of the Munnar Villa Vista Project (MVVP), which was set up allegedly with the motive to launder money collected from abroad and in India.
In the ED’s chargesheet, it has also been alleged that he owned some other companies as well and they were being used to collect funds to be utilized for the PFI’s activities.
The Allahabad High Court had denied bail to Razak observing that he can't claim parity with co-accused Siddique Kappan as Kappan is facing the allegation that Rs.5,000/- were transferred in the Bank account of co-accused Atikur Rahman, whereas in the instant case against Abdul, the proceed of crime is in crores.
Case Title: ABDUL RAZAK PEEDIYAKKAL V. UNION OF INDIA, SLP(Crl) No. 4627/2023
Click Here To Read/Download Order