Delhi Waqf Board case: HC denies anticipatory bail to Amanatullah Khan

Khan moved the high court after Special Judge Rakesh Syal of Rouse Avenue Court, on March 1, dismissed his plea.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday refused anticipatory bail to AAP legislator Amanatullah Khan in connection with the Delhi Waqf Board money laundering case.

Khan moved the high court after Special Judge Rakesh Syal of Rouse Avenue Court, on March 1, dismissed his plea.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma, who heard the case, dismissed Khan’s plea, citing his failure to cooperate with the probe conducted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

MS Education Academy

Repeatedly ignoring summons issued by the agency amounts to obstruction of justice and erodes public trust in the criminal justice system, the court said, stressing the obligation of public figures, like Khan, to assist investigative agencies in uncovering the truth behind allegations levelled against them.

It said cooperation with law enforcement is a form of public service, essential for maintaining accountability and transparency in governance.

Justice Sharma said that being an elected representative does not exempt Khan from legal scrutiny and that his actions are closely monitored by those he serves.

Rejecting the argument that Khan’s duties as an MLA prevented him from appearing before the ED, the court stressed the need for equal treatment under the law, irrespective of one’s public status.

The ED had recently summoned the accused in the matter. It had also opposed the anticipatory bail application, arguing that Khan may not cooperate in the investigation if he is granted pre-arrest bail.

Special Public Prosecutors Manish Jain and Simon Benjamin, representing the ED, had earlier said that Khan had previously approached the Delhi High Court against the summons, which was later withdrawn, alleging concealment of this fact in his current plea.

Khan had challenged the constitutional validity of Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and also sought a directive to quash the cases filed by the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) and the ED.

Senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy, representing Khan, had also earlier argued and requested interim protection but the court declined to grant relief.

Guruswamy had pointed out that Khan had been summoned in a money laundering case. She had contested the issue of two FIRs being filed in the same case, with the first FIR dated November 23, 2016, filed by the CBI, related to Khan’s alleged wrongful appointment as Chairman of the Delhi Waqf Board. She had cited the principle of criminal law that prohibits two FIRs for one cause, noting that the second FIR was based on the same allegations as the first, despite the closure of the matter by the agency, terming it as administrative irregularities.

She also pointed out that previous bail orders in both cases concluded that there was no loss to the exchequer, as there was no evidence of bribery or recovery of proceeds of crime.

Special Judge Syal had recently taken cognisance of an ED charge sheet filed in the case against Zeeshan Haider, his partnership firm Skypower, Javed Imam Siddiqui, Dawood Nasir, and Qausar Imam Siddiqui. The case pertains to a property worth Rs 36 crore in Okhla being allegedly acquired with illicit funds, purportedly influenced by Khan, who reportedly handed over Rs 8 crore in cash.

During the investigation, the ED considered FIRs filed earlier by the CBI, ACB, and the Delhi Police. The ED said that the property was bought at Khan’s behest, and presented with evidence of a Rs 27 crore cash transaction.

Back to top button