Evidence by approver in Acheduled Offence can’t be used against him Under PMLA Act: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court has granted bail to Sanjay Kansal, an accused in a money laundering case, after he turned approver in a related CBI investigation.

Justice Amit Sharma ruled that the evidence provided by Kansal as an approver in the scheduled offence cannot be used against him in the ongoing proceedings under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

This decision stems from Kansal’s status as a witness in the CBI case, following his pardon for the scheduled offences. His evidence in those proceedings, therefore, is not admissible in the PMLA case.

The court referenced a judgement from the Allahabad High Court which noted that while a pardon elevates an accused to the status of a witness, it does not imply absolute absolution in the predicate offence.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had accused Kansal of laundering nearly Rs 50 crore as part of a conspiracy with other co-accused. Despite these allegations, Kansal’s role did not appear to extend to managerial or key decision-making capacities within the implicated company, M/s SBBEL.

Justice Sharma pointed out that there was no assumption of Kansal’s awareness that his actions involved proceeds of crime at this stage, particularly relevant to his bail consideration.

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The court acknowledged Kansal’s cooperation with the investigation and noted his prolonged incarceration of nearly 20 months since his arrest on August 25, 2022.

Given these circumstances, and considering the conditions of Section 45 of the PMLA, Kansal successfully demonstrated grounds for bail.

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