Allahabad High Court grants bail to journalist Siddique Kappan in PMLA case

Allahabad High Court


Allahabad High Court: In a bail application plea filed by Siddique Kappan under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (‘PMLA') read with Section 439 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (‘CrPC'), seeking bail in a case filed under Section 3 or 4 of the PMLA, Dinesh Kumar Singh, J. after considering the facts, coupled with the contention regarding twin conditions under Section 45 PMLA , and that there is no likelihood of Siddique Kappan to commit the same offence in future, and the fact that he has already been in prison from 05-10-2020 till he was enlarged on bail by the Supreme Court, and thereafter he is in custody of the Enforcement Directorate, held that Siddique Kappan is entitled to be released on bail.

In the case at hand, Siddique Kappan is a press reporter and had been working for ‘'. He was travelling to Hathras to cover up an incident which had received wide coverage in media and was arrested by the U.P. Police on 05-10-2020 in respect of offences under Sections 153-A, 295-A and 124 of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC'), Sections 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (‘UAPA') and Sections 65, 72 and 76 of the Information Technology Act, 2000(‘IT Act').

Further, Siddique Kappan had been granted bail by the Supreme Court vide judgment and order dated 09-09-2022. However, before Siddique Kappan could have come out of jail pursuant to the said judgment, a complaint under Section 3 or 4 read with Sections 44 and 45 of the PMLA came to be filed on which cognizance was taken on 10-02-2022.

In the complaint, it was alleged that Siddique Kappan being a member of Popular Front of India (‘PFI') is a part of a larger conspiracy hatched by K.A. Rauf Sherif, Secretary of PFI to visit Hathras with an intention to disturb communal harmony, instigating riots and spreading terror and to fund anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest and for other unlawful activities of PFI. It was further alleged that to give effect to the criminal conspiracy, the money was collected from abroad through bogus and manufactured transactions, and the same was transferred into the account of the co-accused.

Siddique Kappan submitted that, his association with PFI, even if it is believed to be true, would not make out an offence under the PMLA. Further, the twin conditions, as prescribed under Section 45 PMLA, are not attracted in the present case, in as much as the proceeds of crime which has been dealt with allegedly by the accused is only Rs. 5,000/-, whereas to attract twin conditions of Section 45 PMLA, proceeds of crime should be Rs. 1 Crore or more.

The respondent submitted that the proceeds of crime, has been utilized by K.A. Rauf Sherif and Siddique Kappan for commission of the scheduled offences and, therefore, twin conditions are not satisfied, as mentioned under Section 45 of the PMLA to enlarge Siddique Kappan on bail under the PMLA.

The Court said that except for allegations that Rs. 5,000/- was transferred to the bank account of the co-accused(Atikur Rahman), there is no other transaction, either in the bank account of Siddique Kappan or in the bank account of the co-accused. Further, even if it is believed that part of proceeds of crime was transferred in the bank account of Atikur Rahman, that itself may not be sufficient to prove that Siddique Kappan has dealt with the proceeds of crime amounting to Rs. 1,36,14,291/- which had been allegedly received by K.A. Rauf Sherif.

Thus, the Court released Siddique Kappan on bail.

[Siddique Kappan v. Directorate of Enforcement, 2022 SCC OnLine All 898, order dated 23-12-2022]

Also read: Sessions Court rejects Siddique Kappan’s Bail plea in Money Laundering Case | SCC Blog (

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Counsel for Applicant: – Advocate Ishan Baghel, Advocate Mohd. Khalid

Counsel for Opposite Party: – Advocate Kuldeep Srivastava

*Apoorva Goel, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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