New Delhi; A Delhi court on Wednesday asked the ED for reply on a bail plea field by Hurriyat 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 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. PTI