No change in circumstances, Bombay High Court refuses to grant bail to Iqbal Mirchi aide
Humayun Merchant’s lawyers said that the septuagenarian has been incarcerated for almost three years and also suffers from various ailments on account of his advanced age.
By Vidya : The Bombay High Court has refused to grant bail to underworld don Iqbal Mirchi's alleged associate Humayun Merchant, who is accused of receiving tainted money and helping Mirchi launder the money.
Between 1992 and 1994, Mirchi, who is not alive any more, was accused of committing murders and attempted murders and various FIRs were registered. The trial for these offences is still pending. Following these FIRs, the ED filed an ECIR, which is akin to an FIR, on September 26, 2019, and began its investigation.
In 2019 another FIR was registered at Kilpauk Police Station in Chennai and the accusation was that some of the KYC documents of the son of Merchant were forged for opening a certain bank account with IDBI Bank and for routing Rs 6.60 crores from such account in 2010.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh and advocates Aditya Thakkar and Shreeram Shirsat appeared for the ED and submitted that Mirchi generated proceeds from the various crimes and purchased three properties. It is also alleged that out of the Rs 170 crores, Merchant received Rs 45.50 crores in India and Rs 5 crores from a company called Sunblink was transferred to Mirchi's son.
Singh further pointed out that in 2020, Merchant's bail plea was rejected by the high court and he had approached the Supreme Court, which was later withdrawn. Singh pointed out that since then there had been no change in circumstances apart from Merchant growing older.
On the other hand, advocates Vikram Chaudhari, Sajal Yadav, Anukul Seth and Harsh Ghangurde, appearing for Merchant, submitted that the alleged schedule offences occurred a decade earlier, wherein the investigation into these offences was almost complete and, therefore, there is no likelihood of any tampering of the case. They also submitted that the role of Merchant surfaced for the first time in 2005, whereas the complaint alleged that the purchase of three properties was completed in 1989 and the schedule offences are alleged to have been committed by Mirchi.
It was pointed out that Merchant is a septuagenarian and incarcerated for almost three years as of date and he also suffers from various ailments on account of his advanced age.
However, Justice Bharti Dangre, while rejecting the bail plea, said, "As far as the status of the special case is concerned, it is at the stage of framing of charge and by requesting the Additional Sessions Judge, seized of the PMLA Special Case, to make every endeavour to conclude the trial expeditiously, I am not persuaded to entertain the application once again, when on earlier occasion it was rejected by considering the merits in the complaint and by referring to the role assigned to the applicant and once again on perusal of the same material, I am not persuaded to arrive at a different conclusion."