The Delhi High Court today sought controversial businessman Moin Akhtar Qureshi’s response to a plea of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking to cancel his bail in a money laundering case. Justice A K Pathak issued notice to Qureshi on the agency’s petition and listed the matter for further hearing on April 19. The ED has challenged the bail granted to Qureshi by a trial court here on December 12 last year. Central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, appearing for the ED, argued that it was a case of an economic offence and the allegations against him were serious. The counsel further said that Qureshi’s bail should be cancelled as the trial court’s order was not passed in terms of the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The court, however, remarked that “economic offence does not mean you will catch hold of any person and will keep him in jail for life”. “I know that the allegations against him are that he cheated the country, but who will compensate him if tomorrow he is acquitted,” the judge asked.
The trial court had, while granting Qureshi bail, directed him to deposit his passport, not to leave the country without its prior permission and not to influence the witnesses in the case. The court said that the ED, which has been probing the case, availed full opportunity to unearth the offence of money laundering allegedly committed by Qureshi and from time to time, his custody was given to the ED to the maximum extent permissible under the law. It also noted that Qureshi had cooperated with the probe prior to his arrest and there was no allegation that he tried to influence witnesses or tamper with evidence. The trial court also noted that in the CBI case, on the basis of which the current ED case was registered, the accused has not yet been arrested even after the lapse of around 10 months from the registration of the case. He was arrested by the agency in August last year. According to the agency, Qureshi was arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and he was “not cooperating in the probe”.