SC rejects AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan’s anticipatory bail plea, asks him to appear before ED

06:00 PM Apr 15, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan’s anticipatory bail application in a money laundering case related to alleged irregularities in the Delhi Waqf Board during his chairmanship and ordered him to join the investigation.


A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta asked Khan to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on April 18 at 11 a.m.

“You arrest him in case if there is material and in case there is no material don’t arrest him. You will have to follow the procedure under section 19 of the PMLA. We take it that you will not arrest him unless you satisfy yourself with regard to section 19. It should not be taken for granted that if he appears, he will be arrested,” the bench told Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the ED.

Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) allows ED to arrest a person based on material in its possession that suggests the person has committed an offence punishable under the law.

The bench took exception to certain observations made in the March 11 verdict of the Delhi High Court with regard to the merit of the case and said it will not have any bearing in the matter.


“We are not inclined to entertain the present SLP to the extent that it denies the benefit of anticipatory bail to the petitioner. However, we clarify that we have some reservations on certain observations made in the impugned judgement with regard to interpretation of section 50 of the PMLA and some observations on merits,” the bench said in its order.

It added, “However, we clarify that the said observations made in the impugned judgement will not be treated as findings on merits relating to the evidence and materials relied upon by the respondent- ED. The issue is left open.”

The money laundering case against Khan stems from a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR and three Delhi Police complaints.

The ED, which had 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.

The bench also voiced its displeasure over Khan skipping ED summonses.

“What has happened is this… Repeated summons were issued and you did not appear. That’s wrong. How can we condone that?” the bench told senior advocate Vikram Chaudhari, who appeared for Khan.

It said the ED has now collected evidence which it did not have when Khan was granted bail in the CBI matter and that he needs to be confronted with the evidence gathered thereafter.

Asserting that there was no allegation of bribery or acquiring disproportionate assets against Khan, Chaudhari said, “There is nothing in the scheduled offence (main case of corruption) which is the subject matter of PMLA.”

The bench asked the defence lawyer to raise these contentions before the trial court.

It told Raju, “There are certain observations in the impugned judgement in the later part, which goes into the merit of the matter. That should not have been there.”

The bench refused to grant any relief when Chaudhari sought protection from arrest and assured the bench that Khan will appear before the probe agency.

“Mr Chaudhari, look you have to appear (before the ED) and the only question before us is with regard to expunging certain observations in the impugned judgement,” the bench said.

The senior lawyer submitted the ED had visited Khan’s house in October last year and recorded his statements. “They have taken all my bank statements. In January 2024, they filed a prosecution complaint (ED’s equivalent of chargesheet) against four people, who they had arrested. They did not array me as an accused. After that they have issued summons,” he said, making a pitch for bail.

The bench told Chaudhari there are two orders in favour of Khan in the CBI’s case and another complaint.

“You can rely on those orders. They (ED) will have to give you grounds of arrest, if suppose they want to arrest you. I don’t know whether they are going to arrest you or not. But you must join the investigation,” Justice Khanna said.

The high court had refused to grant pre-arrest bail to Khan on March 11 while voicing its disapproval of public persons evading repeated summonses by probe agencies. The trial court had turned down his anticipatory bail plea on March 1.

Khan was not named as an accused in the charge sheet that the ED filed recently.

The agency has named four people in its prosecution complaint that included three alleged associates of Khan — Zeeshan Haider, Daud Nasir and Jawed Imam Siddiqui.

Searches were conducted in the case related to illegal recruitment of staff and alleged 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, it alleged.


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