A Delhi court on Saturday took cognizance of a charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain for his alleged role in money laundering, funding protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act; and orchestrating the Delhi riots in February, which claimed 53 lives and left around 400 injured.

Additional sessions judge (ASJ) Amitabh Rawat said there was prima facie, sufficient incriminating material to show the involvement of Hussain and co-accused Amit Guptain these offences. The court directed Tihar jail officials to produce Tahir Hussain before it on October 19.

“… cognisance of the offence under Section 3 read with Section 70, punishable under Section 4 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, is taken against accused Tahir Hussain and Amit Gupta,” the court said in its order.

Hussain is currently in judicial custody, after being arrested in connection with numerous riot cases, including one filed by the Delhi Police special cell related to conspiracy to engineer the Delhi riots.

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The ED told the court that further investigation is on and a supplementary charge sheet may be filed later.

Hussain’s counsel, advocate Rizwan, said the charges against his client are all false. “This is a coverup to save the actual perpetrators. Everyone knows and has seen the videos as to on whose directions the riots had taken place,” he said.

Gupta’s counsel could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts

The agency had arrested Hussain on August 31 to probe allegations that he along with other persons had laundered about ₹1.10 crore by using shell (dummy) companies to fuel the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and also the Delhi riots. Police have maintained that the riots were planned at the anti-CAA protest sites in north-east Delhi.

The ED said their investigation is based on multiple police FIRs. It said the investigation conducted under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, has revealed that companies owned/controlled by Hussain and his relatives allegedly transferred huge amounts of money to dubious entities/entry operators, which were returned by them in cash.

“The cash received by Hussain through entry operators was used to fuel the anti-CAA protests and Delhi riots. Investigations have also revealed that Hussain and his companies were involved in money laundering in the past as well,” the ED had said on August 31.

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In June, ED had conducted searches at residences and business premises of Hussain and his relatives in Delhi, Noida and Greater Noida. These searches had allegedly led to the recovery of incriminating documents and evidences, including fake invoices which were used for the fraudulent transfer of money, the ED claimed.

The agency is investigating two cases of money laundering – one against Hussain and another against Popular Front of India (PFI), a Muslim organisation with fundamentalist leanings — for allegedly mobilising funds for north-east Delhi riots.

In its probe against PFI, the ED has alleged that about ₹120 crore was funnelled in by the organisation to fuel anti-CAA protests across the country. The PFI has termed the allegations “baseless”.

Communal violence had broken out in north-east Delhi on February 24 after clashes between CAA supporters and opposers spiraled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and more than 400 injured.

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