HC refuses bail to Red Sanders smuggler Badshah Malik | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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HC refuses bail to Red Sanders smuggler Badshah Malik

Jun 25, 2024 07:42 AM IST

Bombay High Court rejects Red Sanders smuggler Badshah Majid Malik's bail plea in money laundering case; court finds proceeds of crime from smuggling.

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court last week rejected the bail plea of Red Sanders smuggler Badshah Majid Malik, who has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case.

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HT Image

In November 2015, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) received specific information that Red Sanders were being smuggled out of India in an export consignment to Jebel Ali port in Dubai using forged documents. This led to the recovery and seizure of 7.8 metric tons of Red Sanders logs valued at 3.12 crore. The DRI’s investigation revealed that the consignment was mis-declared as Fabric/Glue/Radiators/Assorted Colours using forged documents of a firm located in a Special Economic Zone. Further investigation revealed that the gang had already smuggled 17 consignments containing 120 MT of Red Sanders valued at 48 crore before the seizure.

Based on the DRI case, the ED registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) and arrested Malik on December 21, 2021. In 2022, Malik approached the High Court for bail after the special PMLA court rejected his plea. His counsel argued that there was little possibility of the trial commencing within a reasonable time, as the predicate case was yet to be committed to the Sessions Court, and it was uncertain when charges would be framed. Malik also complained that the ED had investigated several years’ transactions of his company, despite the predicate offence relating only to 2015.

A single judge bench of Justice Prithviraj Chavan, however, rejected Malik’s bail plea, observing that it was clear from the material gathered by the ED that the gang had derived properties directly from the criminal activity of smuggling Red Sanders, and these were proceeds of crime.

“It cannot be said that the authority had proceeded on an assumption that the properties recovered by them are the proceeds of crime and that a scheduled offence has been committed by the applicant,” said Justice Chavan while rejecting Malik’s bail plea.

The court also dismissed the argument that the ED’s investigation of acts beyond the predicate offence was against the basic tenets of the PMLA. “The ED has the power to investigate a continuing offence of money laundering as it is not dependent on the date on which the scheduled offence or predicate offence was committed. The ED, by presenting material on record, has shown that the applicant was in continuous possession of proceeds of crime,” the court said.

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