Sunday, December 10, 2023

Delhi Waqf Board case: Court reserves order on bail plea of AAP MLA Amanat Ullah Khan

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After hearing the arguments of the lawyer for the accused and the prosecution, a Delhi Court reserved its decision on Amanat Ullah Khan’s bail application.

The AAP MLA was detained in connection with suspected irregularities in appointments at the Delhi Waqf Board while he was chairman. Following the police custody remand, the court transferred AAP MLA Amanat Ullah Khan to judicial jail detention on Monday.

Another accused, Kausar Imran Siddiqui alias Laddan, was brought before the court on a production warrant.

He was interviewed and then arrested with the court’s authorization. He was being held in judicial custody in another case at the Jamia Nagar police station.

Laddan was allowed two days in jail for interrogation by the judge.

After hearing both parties’ arguments, Special CBI Judge Vikas Dhull reserved his decision on Amanat Ullah Khan’s bail application.

While arguing on behalf of Amanat Ullah Khan, Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra stated that there is evidence to prove that there was any breach of rules and regulations in appointing the contractual staff of the board when no rules are in existence.

Rahul Mehra went on to say that the board made every decision together, yet Amanat Ullah Khan was singled out as the sole defendant in this case.

The senior lawyer further said that there is no restriction against the hiring of people from a certain constituency, location, or family provided they are otherwise competent.

He further stated that the hiring was done through a walk-in interview and that an advertising was placed in the newspaper.

It was also stated that no laws or regulations were broken, and that no bribes or money were offered or accepted. There is no evidence that the unlawful money was retrieved from the accused, as shown by the journal discovered from Laddan’s home.

Therefore the sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act are not made out, the counsel for the accused submitted.

The senior advocate said that there was a bidding process for renting out the shops of the board. Everything is on paper. There is nothing to show that there was any criminality.

He also submitted that another case related to the appointment was registered by the CBI in 2016 against the accused but his not arrested as the premier agency is not bloodthirsty, unlike other agencies.

There were 25 cases against the accused, out of which in 20 cases he has been acquitted, discharged or the cases have been compromised. Five cases are still pending out of which one is of the CBI in which a charge sheet has been filed but the accused was not arrested.

In the present case, the accused has been arrested even after 2 years of investigation. Despite this the Prosecution has nothing against the accused even after 10 days of custody, Mehra argued.

While opposing the bail plea additional public prosecutor (APP) Atul Shrivastava submitted that there is evidence against the accused and he is a very influential person. He may influence the witnesses in this case.

APP submitted that there were Irregularities in the appointment. These appointments were made in violation of rules and his own people were employed.

He also submitted that the funds of Rs. 3.2 crores meant for widows’ help were paid as employees’ salaries. Thus, there was a misappropriation of funds.

AAP argued that there was an alleged demand of Rs.10 lakh from a successful bidder for renting a shop. When he refused to pay the bribe he was allegedly forced to withdraw the bid.

He also alluded to a smartphone screenshot in connection with the purported payment of Rs.1 lakh, which was part of the claimed gratification of Rs. 7 lakh given to Amant Ullah’s accomplices.

The accused, according to the APP, is also refusing to cooperate with the inquiry. He did not properly reveal his phone. The AAP MLA allegedly stated that his phone was stolen on the day of his detention. The AAP presented a video on the phone of the accused being handed over to someone.

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