Srinagar: The bail plea of Kashmiri businessman Muhammad Aslam Wani was rejected because the NIA court in Delhi feared he might go absconding “because there is no permanent address of the accused”. The counsel of Wani has termed this grounds for denying bail as “childish”.
Accused of money laundering, Wani was first arrested in 2005 and released five years later in 2010. This year, he was again arrested in the same case by the Enforcement Directorate on August 6 from Kashmir.
“We had applied for bail after the 23 November 2017 order passed by Supreme Court in case of Nikesh Tarachand Shah v/s Union of India in W.P. (Crl) No. 67 of 2011 whereby all the trial courts have been directed to take a fresh view in PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) matters after quashing Section 45 of PMLA holding it unconstitutional,” Wani’s counsel Mohammad Sarwar Khan argued.
Khan said that in 2015, the Delhi government had filed an appeal against Wani’s acquittal for the offences relating to waging of war against government of India (GoI) and under the anti-terror law – Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (ULAPA).
“After appeal was filed, the court sent notice to Wani… He did not escape nor did he vanish; the notice was sent to him on his address by the Delhi government,” Khan explained.
The order was given by Judge Siddharth Sharma after Khan moved bail plea of Wani on November 24, a day after the SC verdict. The bail plea was heard on December 1 and 4 and the order was released late Monday evening.
“Wani appeared before the Delhi high court and contested the appeal filed by Delhi government and finally, his acquittal was confirmed by the division of Delhi High Court,” Khan added. “It is a childish judgement by the court when it is being said that his address is not known.”
Khan said that Wani appeared in a case under section 121 of RPC for which minimum sentence is life imprisonment and maximum is death sentence.
“And this time he is being prosecuted for sec 3&4 of PMLA for which maximum sentence is 7 years and minimum 3 years,” he said. “When Wani could appear in such a huge case in 2015 why would he vanish now?” he questioned.
“It is not application of the facts,” Khan said,”It is irony that ED issued notice on his address and the agency arrested him from his house (this year).”