New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday contended in the Delhi High Court that former AAP leader Tahir Hussain was part of a conspiracy to fund the 2020 Delhi riots by using proceeds of crime.
The ED’s submissions were made while opposing a plea by Hussain challenging the framing of charges against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Justice Anu Malhotra, after hearing submissions of the counsel for Hussain and ED, reserved the order on the petition.
The court asked the parties to file short written submissions in the case.
Hussain has challenged the trial court’s November 3 order by which charges for the alleged offence under Sections 3 (offence of money laundering) and 4 (punishment for the offence of money laundering) of the PMLA were framed against him in connection with the 2020 riots in northeast Delhi.
The trial court, in its order, had said that prima facie Hussain conspired to engage in money laundering and the proceeds generated from the crime were used for the riots.
During the hearing, Hussain’s counsel submitted that no property or proceeds of crime were seized from him which could justify the framing of charges against him for the alleged offence of money laundering.
The ED counsel contended that Hussain had paid funds for the Delhi riots and there was a criminal conspiracy to fund the riots.
“It is a clear case of money laundering. There was a conspiracy to fund riots for which fake bills were prepared and cash was later given to various persons to commit the offences and he was part of it.
“He used proceeds of crime to fund it and he used cash to fund people for riots,” ED’s counsel argued.
He said there was enough material to show that property and proceeds of crime were used in furtherance of a larger conspiracy to fund the riots.
According to the ED complaint, Hussain allegedly fraudulently withdrew money from accounts of certain companies owned or controlled by him through bogus entry operators on the strength of fake bills.
Hussain was the ultimate beneficiary of the laundered money and the money obtained through criminal conspiracy was put to use during the riots in February 2020, the ED said in the complaint.
Delhi Police had registered three FIRs against Hussain, who is in judicial custody since March 16, 2020, and others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code regarding the riots.
Based on Delhi Police FIRs, inquiries were initiated and the ED registered an ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report) on March 9, 2020.
The Supreme Court had on Monday refused to stay proceedings against Hussain in FIRs registered against him in connection with the 2020 northeast Delhi riots.
A bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravi Kumar said it is not inclined to interfere with the September 16 order of the Delhi High Court as it is an interim order and all remedies are open to the petitioner.
It noted that the high court had issued notices on the applications moved by Hussain for quashing the FIR registered against him for rioting and under sections of the Arms Act at the Khajuri Khas police station, and the proceedings emanating from the FIR.
The top court noted that the high court posted the matter for further hearing on January 25 as it refused to stay proceedings on a separate application moved by Hussain who had claimed that multiple FIRs have been lodged in the same matter.