2020 Delhi riots: Court dismisses Tahir Hussain’??s plea seeking stay on PMLA case proceedings

 A court here has dismissed former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain’s plea seeking a stay on proceedings in a money laundering case against him till charges are framed in another case related to alleged conspiracy behind the 2020 Northeast Delhi riots.

Twenty people, including Hussain and activists Sharjeel Imam, Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi, have been arraigned as accused in the case related to the larger conspiracy to incite the riots.

The money laundering case, registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), emanates from the larger conspiracy matter. The agency has alleged that Hussain laundered several crore rupees using shell or dummy companies to fuel protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the communal riots.

Underlining that charges in the ED case were framed in January this year and Hussain’s appeals against the order on charges were dismissed by the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat rejected the former councillor’s contention that there were no proceeds of crime or money laundering in the case.

The judge said a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) can only be registered if there exists a predicate offence (larger conspiracy to incite riots) and that both cases were investigated by separate agencies — ED and Delhi Police.

“Once the investigation into the PMLA has been initiated, it is tried as a separate case as well. Thus, predicate offence triggers initiation of a case under PMLA but is not only independently investigated but also independently and separately tried,” the court said in its order passed on December 14.

Also Read

“It is also clear that if there is an order of discharge or acquittal in the predicate offence, then the proceedings in the PMLA case shall come to a stop. That does not mean that if there is an order on charge or conviction, there would also be an automatic conviction in the PMLA case,” it added.

The court said Hussain’s contention to stay the proceedings was not mandated by law and a stay would result in public witnesses being lost.

Staying the recording of evidence in the ED case would “put an embargo” on the matter itself despite the availability of witnesses, it said.

“There is no judgement of the Supreme Court or the Delhi High Court to buttress the contention that the PMLA matter needs to be stayed till the time order on charge/conviction or acquittal is passed,” the court noted.

The application filed by accused Hussain for a stay on the proceedings stands dismissed, it said.

Related Articles

Latest Articles