A Delhi court on Friday (28 August) sent Delhi riots accused Tahir Hussain to six-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case.
The ED had moved the court seeking 14-day custody of Hussain and submitted that scheduled offences of money laundering are attracted in three FIRs registered against him in relation to the Delhi riots in February.
While allowing the custody for only six days, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat noted, "In the interest of effective and proper investigation, I deem it fit to allow the present application. However, six days custody of the accused, namely Tahir Hussain, is given to the IO."
The court further asked the Tihar Jail Superintendent to get his Covid-19 test conducted and after the test, hand over the custody of the accused to the investigating officer or ED officials. "The accused shall be medically examined every 24 hours," the judge added.
While requesting the court for custody, Special Public Prosecutor N K Matta said that Tahir Hussain was involved in money laundering and various other fraudulent acts of cheating, falsification and forgery of documents and criminal conspiracy.
"The accused had entered into a criminal conspiracy by fraudulently transferring money from the accounts of many companies. The money so obtained are the proceeds of crime which were then used for committing various other scheduled offences," the ED said.
The ED told the court that it has also been able to shift the data and it has also conducted searches at various premises and several incriminating documents and digital devices have been recovered and seized.
The agency said the statements of several persons have been recorded, and WhatsApp chats, bogus invoices and other incriminating documents have been recovered.
The Special Public Prosecutor further submitted that Hussain has not cooperated in the investigation and gave evasive reply and thus sought his custody to be confronted with various documents, data and statements of various persons.
Advocate K K Menon, appearing for Hussain, however, opposed the application stating that the accused is a victim of circumstance.
"The accused is not required for custodial interrogation as he faces threat of torture," he said. It was further submitted that no case is made out against the accused.
The court permitted Hussain's counsel to confer with the accused for a period not exceeding half-an-hour at the beginning of the ED custody and after every 48 hours during remand.
"The concerned officials shall ensure that they remain outside the audible range during the said period. Needless to state that the accused and his counsel shall follow the necessary social distancing protocols in view of the Covid-19 outbreak," the judge ordered.
Meanwhile, a Delhi court on 21 August took cognisance of the chargesheet filed against Hussain in the murder case of Intelligence Bureau official Ankit Sharma during the riots in the city in February.
Metropolitan Magistrate Purushottam Pathak said: "He provoked his community against the other community with a view to promote enmity on the grounds of religion."
Hussain has also been booked under the stringent anti-terror law -- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act -- in a case related to alleged conspiracy in the riots.
On 27 August, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) had cancelled the membership of Hussain and he is no longer a Municipal Councillor from the Aam Aadmi Party. He was suspended from the post after his name cropped out in connection with the riots.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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