STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: CBI Judge Srinagar Mohan Singh Parihar rejected the applications of Irshad Ahmad Qureshi, Irshad Ahmad Hajjam and Firdous Iqbal Wani seeking their discharge from the offence under Section 3 punishable under Section 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering (PML) Act, 2002 (15 of 2003). The complainant, Assistant Director, Directorate of Enforcement (ED) Government of India, Durrani House Rajbagh, Srinagar has filed a criminal complaint in this Court for the prosecution of the aforesaid accused for allegedly committing offence under Section 3 punishable under Section 4 of the PML Act. The CBI Judge Srinagar after hearing both the sides observed that Section 24 of the PML Act deals with burden of proof and as per Clause (a), in the case of a person charged with the offence of money-laundering under Section 3, the Authority or Court shall, unless the contrary is proved, presume that such proceeds of crime are involved in money-laundering. Court further observed that in the present case, the investigation conducted by Directorate of Enforcement has revealed that one of the accused was involved in channelizing the ill gotten money and delivering the same to terrorist cadres in Kashmir Valley. “The services of aforesaid accused were utilized by Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, as is clear from the fact that letter pads of Hizbul Mujahideen were also recovered by the police along with cash amount at the instance of accused namely Irshad Ahmad Hajjam. Qureshi utilized the service of Hajjam also for distributing the ill gotten money among the terrorist sympathizers/cadres. Hajjam was fully aware of the fact that the money they distributed reached the families of terrorism victims. Both these accused distributed the money for their personal gains as they used to get commission against such distribution. The money accused Qureshi and Hajjam distributed was arranged by the persons like accused Wani. During the investigation it has been also revealed that Firdous Ahmad Wani had handed over huge amount/money to Qureshi and Hajjam, which was seized by local police. It has been claimed that the amount of Rs. 3 lakh was seized from the house of Wani also. He claimed that the aforesaid amount was the sale proceeds of the share of property of his brother who has now settled in Pakistan and had been handed over to Qureshi and Hajjam after selling the share of his brother in the property, for delivering to his brother, but Wani failed to produce any evidence to justify the sale of any land against which the amount available with him was received. These facts disclose that the seized money of Rs. 17,73,914 was acquired by three accused through illegal means and was proceeds of crime meant for strengthening terrorist cadres of Hizbul Mujahideen. From the facts narrated in the complaint, it is revealed that the seized money of Rs. 17,73,914 was proceeds of crime, as defined in Section 2(u) of the Act collected out of the offences scheduled to the PML Act and all the three accused have claimed that the money seized is not the proceeds of crime and is untainted money. So in money laundering case the burden is upon the accused in terms of Section 24 of the Act, to prove that the money recovered and seized from them was neither proceeds of crime nor tainted money. The complainant is duly authorized to file the complaint in this Court for the prosecution of accused and the cognizance taken by this Court for offence under Section 4 of the PML Act is in accordance with the provisions of the Act”, the court observed adding that there is prima-facie sufficient material against the accused to presume that the accused have committed offence of Money-Laundering under Section 3 punishable under Section 4 of PML Act and the accused are liable to be charged under aforesaid section. “The applications filed by accused for discharge are without any merit, and accordingly dismissed and be attached with the main file, the court held.
According to the complaint filed under Section 45 of the PML Act, the case of the complainant is that the Directorate of Enforcement Zonal Office, Srinagar registered a case No. ECIR/01/SRZO/2011 on April 29, 2011 under the provisions of PML Act on the basis of a case registered at Police Station Karan Nagar Srinagar vide FIR No. 14/2009 offences under Section 11, 17, 20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; Sections 121, 121-A RPC against the accused Qureshi and Hajjam. FIR No. 14/2009 dated March 10, 2009 was registered at Police Station Karan Nagar, Srinagar on the basis of an information received by Police Station Karan Nagar that some Hizb ultras were gathering near National High School Karan Nagar, Srinagar for delivering some cash to other terrorists of the same organization and acting on the information, Qureshi and Hajjam were apprehended by the police on March 10, 2009 from Karan Nagar, Srinagar and from the personal search of accused Qureshi, Rs. 40,000 and from the personal search of Hajjam Rs. 85,000 were recovered and seized by the police. The accused at the time of the seizure of the total amount of Rs. 1,25,000 failed to justify the source of the aforesaid amount. During investigation, in the said case, on the disclosure statement of Irshad Ahmad Qureshi, cash amount of Rs. 7 lakh; Passbook; two cheque books used and a Passport were recovered from his residential house and seized in the case. On the disclosure made by Hajjam, the police recovered Rs 2.15 lakh along with three letter pads of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit from his residence and the same were seized. On the basis of the further disclosure made by accused Wani, cash amount of Rs. 3 lakh was also recovered from his house, who is a prosecution witness cited in the police Challan filed against the accused Qureshi and Hajjam. Similarly, an amount of Rs. 4,34,014 lying in the account No. SB-18222 of accused Qureshi from J&K Bank Branch Qamarwari, Srinagar was also frozen by the police. Thus, total amount of Rs. 17,74,414 including one fake note of 500 denomination was seized by the police from the accused having links with the crime which is now case property.
The investigation revealed that the accused Qureshi used to receive huge amount of money from the supporters of the terrorists for distribution among the sympathizers of terrorism. On completion of the investigation, in the FIR No. 14/2009 offences under Sections 11, 17, 20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,1967; Sections 121,121-A RPC were proved against the aforesaid accused.
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