Shabir Shah's bail plea: Delhi Court seeks ED's reply by Jan 31
New Delhi, Jan 29: A Delhi court directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to file its reply by January 31 to the fresh bail plea of Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah in a 2007 money laundering case related to alleged terror financing.
Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma, who had in August last year denied the relief to Shah citing the ongoing probe, passed the directions after the Enforcement Directorate's (Ed) special public prosecutor N K Matta sought time to file his reply.
In his bail application filed through advocate M S Khan, the accused told the court that investigation into the case had been completed since the agency filed its charge sheet and there was no chance for Shah to hamper the probe. He told the court that no purpose would be served by keeping him in custody.
The court had on August 22 last year rejected Shah's bail plea after the ED said it was probing whether he had received money from countries such as Pakistan to promote terrorism in India.
On November 15, the court had framed money laundering charges against Shah and alleged hawala dealer Mohammad Aslam Wani in the case. Both the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. The ED had on September 23 filed the charge sheet against Shah, accusing him of being in touch with Pakistan-based terrorist Hafiz Saeed. It had also named Wani, who is in judicial custody along with Shah.
The court had taken cognisance of the over 700-page charge sheet which relied upon 19 witnesses. The central probe agency, in the charge sheet filed under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), had furnished Shah's statements where he had allegedly told the investigators that he had "no source of income of his own" and that he did "not file any Income Tax Return (ITR)."
The probe agency had recorded the statement of 36-year old Wani where he allegedly said that he came to Delhi from Srinagar "at the directions of Shah" sometime in April, 2003 and that was the first time he had met him. Wani was arrested by the ED on August 6 from Srinagar.
The ED alleged that Wani was asked by Shah to "work for him (on a commission basis) in collecting hawala money from Delhi and deliver to him at Srinagar". The case dates back to August 2005 in which the Delhi Police's Special Cell had earlier arrested Wani.
Wani had then claimed that he had given Rs 2.25 crore to Shah, following which the ED had registered a case under PMLA against the duo in 2007. He was arrested with Rs 63 lakh, allegedly received through 'hawala' channels from the Middle East, and a cache of ammunition, on August 26, 2005. In 2010, a Delhi court had cleared Wani of terror funding charges in the 2005 case but had convicted him under the Arms Act.