PMLA Case: Dr Bilquis Shabir Shah Gets Bail

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday granted bail to Kashmiri Freedom Party leader Shabir Shah's wife Dr Bilquis Shah in a 2005 money laundering case lodged against them for alleged militant financing to cause unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.

Special Judge Dharmender Rana granted the relief to Bilquis Shah on a bail bond of Rs 50,000 with two sureties each in the like amount, saying that placing her under custody would not serve any purpose.

The probe agency had named her as an accused in its supplementary charge sheet filed in the case in September 2020.

“I concur with the defence counsel that now placing her under custody would not serve any purpose. Considering her gender, nature of allegations against the applicant/accused, and the fact that she was not even arrested by the investigating authority during the course of the investigation, accused Bilquis Shah is admitted to bail,” the judge said.

The court also directed her to appear before the court on every date of hearing and she shall not leave the country without the permission of the court. It also directed her to surrender her passport to the court.

The court, meanwhile, allowed ED to examine Shabir Shah in jail regarding the recently traced out proceeds of crime.

Advocate M S Khan, appearing for Bilquis Shah, submitted that she has been falsely implicated in the present case. He further submitted that the charge sheet in the case was already filed and during the investigation also, the ED had not sought her arrest and, therefore, now placing her under custody was not only illogical but also would not serve any purpose.

Special public prosecutors N K Matta and Rajeev Awasthi, appearing for ED, opposed the application and said that the allegations against her were serious.

They further submitted that there was strong apprehension that the accused may flee from the course of justice and may even attempt to tamper with the evidence if released on bail.

The court noted that during the investigation, there was no allegation that she attempted to influence the course of the investigation or in any matter jeopardised the ongoing ED investigations.

Advocate Qausar Khan, also appearing for Dr Shah, told the court that the accused joined the investigations as and when called by the investigating officer. In the charge sheet filed by ED's special public prosecutors N K Matta, the probe agency said that Bilquis Shah, along with Shabir Shah had received Rs 2.08 crore from reported hawala dealer Mohammad Aslam Wani, also accused in the case.

It said the claim was based on Wani's disclosure in the case, where he admitted that ''all amounts were in cash and were handed over to Shabir Ahmad Shah and on three occasions to Bilquis Shah”.

The ED said “she received the said amount knowing fully well that her husband had no known sources of income and this money could not have been obtained through licit means. It clearly implies that Bilquis Shah was an active accomplice of Shabir Shah in his illicit criminal activities.” The ED further said that Shabir Ahmad Shah was in regular touch with Hafeez Sayeed, head of Jamat-ud-Dawa. “Shabir Shah had taken the services of Aslam Wani on a commission basis plus reimbursement of expenses, to collect crime money from Pakistan at Delhi and to carry the same for onward delivery to him or his wife Bilquis Shah,” it said.

Aslam Wani used to receive hawala money from Pakistan at Delhi and carried the same to Srinagar on the directions of Shabir Shah and in lieu of these services, he was paid money by Shabir Shah, it alleged.

The case dates back to August 2005 in which the Delhi Police's Special Cell had earlier arrested Wani and recovered Rs 62.96 lakh cash, five Kgs of explosives, and one pistol with 15 live cartridges from his possession.

Wani had claimed that he had to deliver Rs 52.96 lakh to Shabir Shah in Srinagar and the remaining Rs 10 lakh were to be paid to the activists of Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Wani had then claimed that he had given Rs 2.25 crore to Shah, following which the ED had registered a criminal case under PMLA against the duo in 2007.

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