Patna HC refuses Bail to accused of Money Laundering, kept in Judicial Custody for 7 long years [Read Order]

Patna High Court - Ratilal - Money Laundering - Judicial custody - Taxscan

The Patna High Court, while refusing to release Ratilal accused of money laundering, who is already kept in Judicial custody for 7 long years on the grounds that in other two cases in which he is still in jail with respect to valid order of remand, in such circumstances, he cannot be released from jail custody.

The Deputy Director, Directorate Enforcement, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, filed a Complaint in the Court of Sessions Judge cum Special Judge for an offense punishable under Section 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) alleging that he received a communication that the petitioner, Ratilal has been charge-sheeted in 17 cases of the IPC, Arms Act and Explosive Substance Act and out of them, 7 relates to scheduled offenses under the PML Act.

It has further been alleged that he along with co-accused Rinku Devi, has accumulated huge quantities of money amounting Rs. 1,06,62,022 as well as acquired movable/immovable properties from the returns of the crime, thereby they have committed an offense under the PML Act.

Consequently, the petitioner was detained on  17 April, 2013 in connection with an offense under Section 3 or 4 of the PML Act which provides a maximum sentence of 7 years pending before the Court of Special Judge as he has completed the maximum sentence which could have been awarded under the PML Act after adjusting the period of provisional bail.

The petitioner has made a prayer for issuance of a writ of Habeas Corpus or any other appropriate writ, order, direction for commanding the respondent authority to release the petitioner from Adarsh Jail, Beur, Patna.

The division Judge Bench of Justice Shivaji Pandey and Justice Partha Sarthy noted that the petitioner has already suffered maximum punishment of 7 years, so in the present case lodged under the PML Act, he cannot be kept in judicial custody but, because in two cases in which he is still in jail with respect to valid order of remand, in such circumstances, he cannot be released from jail custody exercising the power of habeas corpus.

The court further observed that after calculating the period of the sentence in terms of Section 31 and 428 of the Cr.P.C., if the petitioner has completed seven years of jail custody, which is the maximum period he can be sentenced in this case, in such situation, he cannot be kept in jail custody with respect to the present case but, he cannot be set free from the jail on account of a valid judicial order of remand with respect to two other cases.

“In view of the aforesaid discussions, it will not be appropriate for this Court to straightway give direction for release of the petitioner from the jail custody rather he should take proper steps in accordance with law,” the court said.

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