Alleged hawala dealer Mohammad Aslam Wani, arrested in a decade-old money laundering case also involving Kashmiri separatist Shabir Shah, was today denied bail by a Delhi court which termed the alleged offence as “grave and serious”.
Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma dismissed the bail application of Wani, arrested on August 6 from Srinagar, and said that the trial was yet to start in the case and the stage was not fit for the grant of relief.
“Keeping in view the fact that trial of the case is yet to start as after framing of charges, now case shall come up for prosecution evidence on next date…and considering that offence under Sections 3 and 4 (related to money laundering) are distinct as grave and serious, I do not find it appropriate to grant bail to applicant Wani,” the judge said.
During the argument, the special public prosecutor N K Matta opposed the bail plea, saying that the investigation in the case was still underway and agency was in the process of filing second supplementary charge sheet.
In his bail application, moved through advocate M S Khan, Wani had on November 14 said that a 2010 trial court judgement clearing him of terror-funding charges in a 2005 case, based on which the money laundering case was lodged in 2007, was confirmed by the Delhi High Court on October 31.
He had claimed that he was wrongly implicated in the case. The Enforcement Directorate had in September filed a charge sheet against Wani and Shah, whose bail application in the case was also dismissed on August 22.
Wani was arrested by the ED from Srinagar on August 6 with the help of the state police and is currently in judicial custody. Shah was arrested by the agency from Srinagar on July 26. The ED action against the two was in pursuance of an August 2005 case in which the Delhi Police’s Special Cell had arrested Wani, who is alleged to have claimed he had passed on Rs 2.25 crore to Shah.
In 2010, a Delhi trial court had cleared Wani of terror-funding charges but convicted him under the Arms Act. The ED had registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Shah and Wani.
On August 26, 2005, Wani was apprehended with the ED claiming Rs 63 lakh was seized from him. It was also alleged that the funds were received through hawala channels from the Middle East, along with a large cache of ammunition.