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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Delhi riots: Suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain’s plea against ED custody infructuous, HC told

ED had earlier told the trial court that Hussain was allegedly involved in money laundering and various other fraudulent acts of cheating, falsification and forgery of documents, and criminal conspiracy.

By: PTI | New Delhi | September 10, 2020 4:22:30 pm
On money trail: ‘Tahir, 4 others got Rs 1.61 crore between Dec 1, Feb 26’Police also probed two bank accounts belonging to Tahir Hussain's company and one belonging to a company owned by his brother-in-law and partners. (File photo)

The Enforcement Directorate told the Delhi High Court on Thursday that the plea by suspended AAP councillor Tahir Hussain challenging his 3-day remand in a money laundering case related to the communal violence in northeast Delhi in February, has become infructuous as he has been sent to judicial custody now.

Hussain has sought setting aside the remand order of September 7, passed by a trial court and a direction to the ED to immediately send him to Tihar jail.

The ED submitted before Justice Yogesh Khanna that an infructuous matter need not be taken up as Hussain’s has been handed over to the Tihar Jail authorities on expiry of his three days ED custody.

Additional Solicitor General S V Raju and advocate Amit Mahajan, representing the ED, said the trial court’s September 7 order clearly says that the accused be handed over to Tihar jail authorities on September 10, and the agency has complied with the direction.

“The trial court order is implemented and it is over. So nothing survives even if the trial court order is set aside..”, the counsel submitted.

However, senior advocate K K Manan, appearing for Hussain, opposed the submission of ED and said he is on the point of law and his prayer is to set aside the trial court’s order. He said if the trial court order is set aside, Hussain’s custody will be illegal.

The court listed the matter for November 24 to hear arguments on the point of law.

The ED was probing the allegation that Hussain and his linked persons laundered about Rs 1.10 crore funds, by using purported shell or dummy companies, to fuel the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the riots.

In his plea before the high court, Hussain said he was formally arrested by ED on August 20 from Tihar jail and on August 28, he was remanded to the six days in the agency’s custody.

The ED again sought extension of Hussain’s custody by nine days and, the court on September 7 granted them three days to quiz him with the direction that he be handed over to Tihar jail authorities on September 10.

Hussain’s counsel challenged the trial court’s extension of remand order on the ground that the 15 days period for grant of police custody has to begin from the date of formal arrest, that is, August 20 and thus, further extension of police remand is not permissible in law.

ED had earlier told the trial court that Hussain was allegedly involved in money laundering and various other fraudulent acts of cheating, falsification and forgery of documents, and criminal conspiracy. ED had alleged that Hussain had entered into a criminal conspiracy by fraudulently transferring money from the accounts of many companies.

The money so obtained are allegedly proceeds of crime which were then used for committing various other scheduled offences, the agency had claimed.

Hussain’s counsel had claimed that he was a victim of circumstances and was not required for custodial interrogation as he faced the threat of torture.

Hussain was arrested in connection with the riots in northeast Delhi in February. He has also been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a conspiracy case related to the riots. He was also arrested in connection with the alleged murder of IB official Ankit Sharma during the riots.

Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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