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Shabir Shah, Wani to face trial in money laundering case (Lead)

New Delhi, Nov 15 (IANS) Paving the way for trial, a court here on Wednesday framed charges against Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah and alleged hawala dealer Muhammad Aslam Wani in a money laundering case.

After the accused pleaded not guilty, Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma listed the matter for January 3 for recording of statements of witnesses.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had in September filed a chargesheet against Wani and Shah under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Wani, arrested on August 6, had reportedly confessed that he passed on hawala money amounting to Rs 2.25 crore to Shah.

Shah was arrested on July 25 on charges of money laundering in a case dating back to 2005 when the Delhi Police Special Cell arrested Wani.

In the 2005 case lodged by the Special Cell, the court had acquitted co-accused Wani of the charges of criminal conspiracy and other offences but convicted him under the Arms Act, his defence counsel told the court.

The Enforcement Directorate submitted that conviction under the Arms Act was the trigger point to take action under the PMLA.

Both have denied the charges.

The court observed that Wani being a member of banned terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad collected illegal hawala money from Delhi, which he received from Pakistan-based terror outfits and sympathisers and delivered the same on various occasions to co- accused Shah in Srinagar for purpose of promoting terror activities in the valley.

The court framed charges under sections 3 and 4 of the PMLA act against the both accused as they projected the proceeds of crime as “untainted property”.

If convicted, they may face rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years and may extend up to seven years with fine.

Public Prosecutors Navin Kumar Matta and Rajeev Awasthi told the court that there were serious allegations against Wani and Shah, as they were involved in generation of huge money from various countries, including Pakistan, to fuel and foment unrest in Kashmir.

Defence Counsel M.S. Khan claimed innocence and said his clients had been falsely implicated in the case.

Post Source: Ians feed

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