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In a suit filed against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court granted journalist Siddique Kappan bail on December 23, 2022.
The Enforcement Directorate had filed the PMLA complaint in February 2021 against Kappan and others. In September, he had been granted bail in connection with a charge brought under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. However, he remained in jail due to the ED case, for which he was denied bail in October by a Lucknow sessions court. He had moved to the High Court seeking bail earlier in October 2022. The bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh has now granted him bail. The order has not been made available yet.
However, Kappan will still not be able to walk free immediately as the High Court order will have to be presented to the PMLA court and the vacation may stand in the way.
The order of the Allahabad High Court paves way for release from prison, 3 months after he was granted bail by Supreme Court in all other cases regist
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat passed the order while allowing the appeal filed by Kappan against the PMLA court denying him bail. The verification sureties, including the one given by former vice-chancellor of Lucknow University, Roop Rekha Verma, have still to be completed by the authorities.
What were the charges against him under PMLA?
In the PMLA case, the ED had arrested Kappan on charges that he had obtained money from a foreign country without authorization and used it to commit crimes against the interests of the country.
On October 6, 2020, Kappan and three other people were arrested while they were on their way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh where a Dalit woman had died after allegedly being gang-raped. The police had claimed that the accused was trying to disturb the law and order in Hathras, and also alleged that the accused had links with the Popular Front of India (PFI). The journalist had initially been detained by police for violations of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The ED then filed a case against him in accordance with the anti-money laundering law.
The central agency had charged Kappan, Rahman, Ahmed, and Alam with receiving money from the now-banned Popular Front of India to “incite riots”. Rahman is the national treasurer of the Campus Front of India, a student body of the PFI. Ahmed is the general secretary of the Campus Front of India’s Delhi unit, while Alam is a member of the outfit as well as the PFI.
Siddique Kappan had been granted bail in the UAPA charges levied against him, after spending more than 2 years in jail. All the charges have now finally been cleared against him. It is important to note that three months ago, on September 9, the Supreme Court had granted bail to Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, who has been under the custody of the Uttar Pradesh Police since October 6, 2020, on his charges filed under the UAPA.
Kappan had been kept under custody for alleged offences under Sections 17/18 of UAPA, Sections 120B 153A/295A IPC, 65/72 IT Act for alleged conspiracy to incite riots following the gangrape-murder of a Dalit minor girl in Hathras. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court bench comprising of Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat in all the above-mentioned sections.
The order can be read here.
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