The Delhi High Court on Friday granted bail to alleged hawala dealer Mohammad Aslam Wani, arrested in a money laundering case involving Kashmiri separatist Shabir Shah. Justice Najmi Waziri granted relief to Wani, who has been in jail since he was arrested in 2017. The court directed him to furnish a personal bond of Rs 3 lakh and two sureties of the like amount. Wani was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), with the help of Jammu and Kashmir Police, from Srinagar on August 6, 2017 and is currently in judicial custody. Shabir Shah was arrested by the agency from Srinagar on July 26, 2017. The ED had opposed Wani's bail plea saying the investigation was still going on. It said there was an apprehension that if released, Wani may flee from justice.
A trial court had earlier denied bail to Wani in the decade-old case. Wani was earlier apprehended on August 26, 2005, with the ED claiming that Rs 63 lakh had been recovered from him. Advocate M S Khan, appearing for Wani, had sought bail after the Supreme Court set aside all orders by which bail to an accused was denied due to a stringent condition in money laundering cases and directed that such cases be remanded back to the respective courts to be heard on merit. Khan had said a 2010 trial court judgement clearing Wani of terror funding charges in 2005 case, based on which the current money laundering case was lodged in 2007, was later confirmed by the Delhi High Court.
The ED had claimed that Wani had not cooperated in the probe and the money trail was yet to be ascertained. In September 2017, the agency filed a charge sheet against Wani and Shah, whose bail application in the case was also dismissed on August 22, the same year. The ED's action against the two was in pursuance of the August 2005 case in which the Delhi Police's Special Cell had arrested Wani, who is alleged to have claimed he had passed on Rs 2.25 crore to Shah. The agency had registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against Shah and Wani.