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Delhi Waqf Board case: Court dismisses Amanatullah Khan’s anticipatory bail plea

A Delhi court on Friday dismissed AAP legislator Amanatullah Khan’s anticipatory bail plea in connection with the Delhi Waqf Board money laundering case. Special Judge Rakesh Syal of Rouse Avenue Court pronounced the verdict after having it reserved on February 24.

The ED had recently summoned the accused in the matter. It has 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the ED, had earlier said that Khan had previously approached the Delhi High Court against the summons, which was later withdrawn, alleging concealment of this fact in his current plea.

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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 connection with 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.

The allegation was 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 had 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.

The ED had filed the charge sheet 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 Rs 27 crore cash transaction.

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