Supreme Court asks MLA Amanatullah to appear before ED on April 18 : The Tribune India

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Supreme Court asks MLA Amanatullah to appear before ED on April 18

Rejects legislator’s anticipatory bail plea in PMLA case

Supreme Court asks MLA Amanatullah to appear before ED on April 18

Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, April 15

Refusing to entertain an anticipatory bail plea of AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan in a money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in Delhi Waqf Board during his chairmanship, the Supreme Court on Monday asked him to join the investigation and appear before the Enforcement Directorate on April 18 at 11 am.

A Bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, however, ordered the ED not to press for execution of a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against Khan who has ignored six summons issued to him by the probe agency.

Follow the procedure

You will have to follow the procedure under Section 19 of the PMLA. It should not be taken for granted that if he appears, he will be arrested. — SC bench

“You arrest him in case if there is material and in case there is no material don’t arrest him,” the Bench told Additional Solicitor General SV Raju who represented the ED. “You have to follow Section 19 of the PMLA Act. It should not be taken for granted that if he (Khan) appears, he will be arrested,” the Bench told the ASG.

Khan had challenged the March 11 Delhi High Court order rejecting his anticipatory bail plea in the case.

The top court clarified that certain observations made in the March 11 high court order on merits of the case will not have any bearing in the matter. Acknowledging the right of an investigating agency to conduct a probe, the high court had asserted that it was for the public figure to “find time and appear”, pursuant to any summons issued to Khan — who is not named as an accused in the complaint (chargesheet) that the ED filed recently.

The ED has named five people in its prosecution complaint that included three alleged associates of Khan — Zeeshan Haider, Daud Nasir and Jawed Imam Siddiqui. Noting that the Okhla MLA ignored six summons issued to him by the ED, the high court had said that legislators should know that disobeying the law will lead to legal consequences as all citizens were equal in the eyes of the law and an MLA or a public figure was not above the law of the land.

“This court wonders whether a person’s plea of being busy with personal or official work can be a valid ground on several occasions to avoid summons on the ground that he is a public person. The answer in this court’s opinion has to be in the negative,” the HC had said. The money laundering case against Khan emanated from a CBI FIR and three Delhi Police complaints.

The ED, which earlier conducted raids on the premises of the legislator, has claimed Khan acquired “huge proceeds of crime” in cash through illegal recruitment of staff in the Delhi Waqf Board and invested those to purchase immovable assets in the name of his associates.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma of the Delhi High Court had said the material on record is sufficient to prima facie show that the offence of money laundering was committed by Khan, whose failure to cooperate with the investigating agency “sets a perilous precedent” and it is crucial that he joins and cooperates with the investigation.

The high court had said the AAP leader’s non-compliance with investigative protocols cannot be overlooked when an investigating agency has the right to conduct an investigation and perform their duties on behalf of citizens without any intimidation, influence or avoidance by the public figure.

Searches were conducted in the case related to illegal recruitment of staff and illegitimate personal gains made by the accused by way of unfairly leasing Waqf Board properties during 2018-2022 when Khan was its chairperson, the ED said.

Several “incriminating” material in the form of physical and digital evidence were seized during the raids, indicating Khan’s involvement in the offence of money laundering, the ED said.

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