Supreme Court Denies Anticipatory Bail to AAP Leader Amanatullah Khan in Money Laundering Case

The Supreme Court refused anticipatory bail to Aam Aadmi Party leader Amanatullah Khan in a money laundering case involving Delhi Waqf Board irregularities. Compliance with ED summons stressed, echoing the Delhi High Court's stance on accountability for public figures.

The Supreme Court made a decision on Monday regarding Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Amanatullah Khan's request for anticipatory bail in a money laundering case linked to irregularities in Delhi Waqf Board recruitment and property leasing. The Court, consisting of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, denied Khan's request. However, they cautioned the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against unnecessary arrests under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), stating Khan should only be arrested if there's enough evidence against him. The Court instructed the ED to follow previous orders and not take the right to arrest for granted.

"The Court said that Khan should not be arrested unless there is sufficient material against him. 'Arrest him if material is there and no arrest if no material. Let Section 19 PMLA be followed. Please follow the earlier order. Right to arrest should not be taken for granted,'" the Court addressed the ED's counsel, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju.

The Delhi High Court had previously refused Khan's anticipatory bail, stating that he couldn't keep avoiding ED summons. The High Court emphasized that public figures like Khan are not exempt from the law and must comply with probe agencies' summons, receiving no special treatment.

This judgment was challenged before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court today was prompt to express that it was not inclined to entertain any plea for anticipatory bail.

"No, no, how can you skip summons like this? We are not going to issue notice. You must join the investigation," Justice Khanna observed.

"We will join the probe tomorrow," Khan's counsel replied.

The Court refused to issue formal notice in the matter to ED but ordered the following:

"No notice on appeals to the extent of denial of anticipatory bail. We have reservations regarding Section 50 of PMLA in the case. We clarify that observations in the impugned judgment will not be treated as merits of the case concerning the petitioner. Let Non-bailable warrant not be executed."

The allegations against Khan concern his time as the Chairman of the Waqf Board. He has been accused of illegally recruiting people in violation of the law.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) first booked him in the case and subsequently, the ED proceedings began.

The AAP legislator later moved a plea before the High Court challenging the ED and ACB case. However, this plea was withdrawn on February 7.

Khan's plea for anticipatory bail was then rejected by a trial court on March 1. After the High Court confirmed the trial court's decision, Khan approached the Supreme Court for relief.