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The Supreme Court has granted bail to an alleged henchman of a mining mafia and close aide of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Bachchu Yadav in a money laundering case, rejecting Enforcement Directorate's allegation of him having received Rs 30 lakh as proceeds of crime.
A bench of Justices A S Bopanna and Prashant Kumar Mishra granted relief to Bachhu Yadav, close associate of Pankaj Mishra, also noting that he has been in incarceration for over one year after being arrested on August 5, 2022 and trial in the case has already begun and five witnesses had been examined.
The Enforcement Directorate contended the petitioner has involved himself in the transportation of 1844 trucks/vehicles carrying stone chips during the period June 01, 2022 to June 26, 2022 and the scrutiny of his bank account showed huge cash deposited on January 24, 2022 to the sum of Rs 30 lakhs. It claimed the amount is proceeds of crime.
The ED also contended that the petitioner is a henchman of the main accused Pankaj Mishra who is indulging in large-scale illegal mining and he was aiding such illegal activities.
It also claimed the amount, found in his account, is only a part of such ill-gotten money and if the entire activities of illegal mining involving the petitioner, led by the said Pankaj Mishra is taken into consideration the amount would be to the extent of nearly Rs 13 crores and as such the arrest of the appellant is justified and his custody is required to be continued.
The bench, however, relied upon an explanation put forth by the petitioner that the amount of Rs 30 lakh deposited in his account was much prior to the period of offence alleged. Further, the amount was meant for purchasing a house in Asansol and Rs 26 lakh was transferred through NEFT and and sale has been registered too.
"Be that as it may, these are aspects which, in any event, would be looked at during the course of the trial," the bench said.
With regard to the ED's contention that the bail of the main accused was dismissed by this court, the bench said Mishra's was in fact withdrawn with liberty to file an application for interim bail on medical ground and also to file afresh bail application after six months.
The bench accepted the plea for release on bail, subject to the condition that he should diligently participate in the trial without interfering in the course of justice and also complying with the other appropriate conditions to be imposed by the trial court.
Case Title: Bachchu Yadav vs EDClick here to read judgment
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