Srinagar: A court at Patiala House in Delhi rejected on Friday the bail application moved by businessman Muhammad Aslam Wani, accused of money-laundering by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Wani was arrested in August and on September 28 the ED filed a 1990-page charge sheet against him and Kashmiri senior resistance leader Shabir Ahmad Shah, also an accused in the case. Shah and Wani are both in Tihar Jail, where they are lodged in separate cells.
“I am yet to see the order which was orally pronounced in the court today,” said Advocate Sarwar Khan, Wani’s counsel. “I will challenge the order rejecting the bail in the Delhi High Court in a few days,” he added.
Wani had applied for bail earlier as well but had vacated the application after the ED filed its charge sheet in the case.
The bail of Wani was rejected two days after the court framed charges against him and Shabir Shah in the money-laundering case.
Advocate Sarwar Khan, who is also the counsel for Shabir Shah, said he will challenge in the Delhi High Court the charges framed against Shah and Wani. Speaking to Kashmir Reader from New Delhi, Khan said, “We will challenge the charges framed against Shah and Wani in the Delhi High Court this month.”
Shah’s counsel explained that the case registered against Wani in 2005 was already dismissed by a court in Delhi, and after that the Delhi High Court also rejected the Delhi Police’s petition against the dismissal of the case.
“A case by Delhi Police was filed against Wani in 2005,” Khan said. “However, the charges against Wani were dismissed by court in 2010 and Wani was freed.”
He said that police had alleged that Wani amassed Rs 62 lakh out of which he handed over Rs 52 lakh to Shabir Shah, which they allegedly spent for terror-related activities.
“Wani was booked and punished under Section 25 of the Arms Act, but the court ruled that police failed to provide any evidence against Wani and could not prove his links with either Shah or any other persons or organisation,” Khan said.
The Delhi Police then appealed against the court verdict in the Delhi High Court in 2016. “A division bench at Delhi High Court refused to intervene in the matter, observing that police had failed to prove Wani as guilty and the appeal was rejected,” Khan said.
While Wani spent almost five years behind bars, the ED filed an “Information Register” (IR) in 2007 against Wani and Shah under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The lawyer said that Section 25 of the Arms Act, under which Wani was booked, is a scheduled offence under PMLA. “That is why the ED filed an IR,” he said. “It was this case which was reopened in 2016 and Shah was arrested on July 26, 2017, and Wani was arrested in August this year.”
“Our defence is that Wani has already been proven innocent and as having no links with Shah. There was also no evidence in the case against Shah,” Khan said. “It is a case of harassment against Shah in which he is being forced to give statements.”
“We have moved an application in the court in this regard as well,” he added.
Shah had earlier applied for bail on health grounds but it was rejected.