New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday asked the ED for reply on a bail plea filed by Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah who claimed that there was no likelihood of the trial being completed any time soon in the money laundering case due to the current pandemic situation.
Shah was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on July 25, 2017 and since then he is in custody.
Special Judge Dharmender Rana issued notice to the agency and sought its response by May 24, when he will next hear the matter.
Shah’s advocate M S Khan said the maximum punishment prescribed for the offence of money laundering was seven years, and that he has already spent more than half of that period.
The accused has spent three years and nine months as an under-trial. The said period is one-half period of the punishment prescribed for the offence under section 4 (punishment for money-laundering) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the application said.
Advocate Qausar Khan, also representing the accused, added that he was entitled to be released on bail as per law.
The advocate said, There is also no likelihood of the trial being completed any time soon given the current pandemic situation. Hence, no useful purpose is going to be served while keeping him in custody.
The application added that the co-accused Aslam Wani was already granted bail by the High Court of Delhi in December 2018 itself.
The accused undertakes to abide by any conditions, if so, imposed by the court, it said.
According to the prosecution, in August 2005 case, the special cell of Delhi police had arrested Wani, an alleged hawala dealer, claiming that Rs 63 lakh were recovered from Wani, of which Rs 52 lakh were allegedly to be delivered to Shah.
According to the prosecution, Wani had claimed that he had given Rs 2.25 crore to Shah.
The ED had later registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Shah and Wani in 2007.
Shahid’s Daughters Write To HM, Seek His Release
Meanwhile the daughters of detained moderate Hurriyat leader Aftab Hilali, popularly known as Shahid-ul-Islam, on Wednesday wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, seeking his intervention for the release of their “ailing father” from Tihar jail.
Hilali was arrested in connection with a militant funding case by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2017 and he tested positive for COVID-19 inside the high security prison last week.
“…for the last around a week he has been shifted to some undisclosed location and we have no contact with him. We do not even know if he is alive. The recent death of jailed senior politician Ashraf Sehrai at a hospital in Jammu, a few hours after he was hospitalized has made us even more worried about the well-being of our father,” Suzain Shah (18) and Sundas Shah (14) said in a letter addressed to the home minister.
The letter was circulated on social media.
The daughters of the separatist leader claimed that the condition of their father, who has comorbidities, including acute diabetes, deteriorated after testing positive.
“Our father has always worked for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and thus, deserves every compassion in these testing times,” they said, requesting Shah to consider their appeal for their father’s release on humanitarian grounds and save their family from devastation.
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