Sessions Court (Lucknow): In a bail application filed by Siddique Kappan for offences under Section 3 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (‘PMLA’), Sanjay Shankar Pandey (Sessions Judge) has rejected his bail plea.

In the bail application, it was asserted that Siddique Kappan is innocent and has committed no offence, as he is a journalist and was travelling to cover the incident of Hathras gang rape. Further, based on the First Information Report (‘FIR’) the Enforcement Directorate (‘ED’) registered Enforcement Case Information Report (‘ECIR’) and initiated investigation against Popular Front of India (‘PFI’), and its members, and Siddique Kappan is neither named in the FIR, nor he is a member of said organisation.

It was alleged that in the enquiry it was revealed that Siddique Kappan worked with ‘Thejas Daily’, a PFI mouthpiece and was closely associated with them and attends their meetings, as his name was present in the minutes of the meeting. Further, funds were transferred on the instructions of co- accused, K.A Rauf, to the account of Atikur Rehman for the conspiracy to visit Hathras for disturbing communal harmony, incite riots and spread terror.

It was also alleged that K.A Rauf received a sum of Rs. 1.36 crore from PFI member based in Oman and Qatar, and the specific role assigned to Sidique Kappan is that he was also having relations with PFI and was in regular touch with the office bearers of PFI, thus was a part of the criminal conspiracy hatched by Rauf to visit Hathras and to disturb communal harmony. He was directly indulged in the use of the proceeds of crime by travelling in the vehicle and by being a part of the purported visit to Hathras, along with other accused.

Thus, the ED has filed a complaint under Section 45 PMLA, 2002 against Siddique Kappan and other accused persons for commission of offence under Section 3 of PMLA, 2002.

The Court said that Siddique Kappan is allegedly an activist of PFI, has relations with PFI and was actively involved in their affairs. Further, he was directly involved in the use of the proceeds of the crime by being part of a criminal conspiracy hatched by KA Rauf to visit Hathras for disturbing communal harmony for which funds were transferred to the bank accounts of co-accused Atikur Rehman from the bank account of Ahammed Shibilli on the instructions of Rauf. Thus, the Court rejected Siddique Kappan’s bail application plea.

[Siddique Kappan v. Directorate of Enforcement, 2022 SCC OnLine Dis Crt (All) 1, decided on 31-10-2022]

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