Court of Principal District and Sessions Judge (PD&SJ), Srinagar which is also a designated Court under the Money Laundering Act, rejected the bail plea to Mir Manzoor Gazanffer, here today.While rejecting the bail, PD&SJ Abdul Rashid Malik observed that extra care and caution has to be taken while dealing with the application for grant of pre- arrest bail. The demand of an individual’s liberty has to be matched with the larger interest of the public. In the instant case, there are allegations of clandestine siphoning of big amount of money. Such an offence is against the whole nation. The investigators have to be given full freedom for investigation.The allegations against the petitioner being of very grave and serious nature, the grant of anticipatory bail to the applicant will certainly hamper proper investigation. The need for providing medical care and attention to the petitioner will be taken care of by the department and even by the jail authorities in the event of his arrest.Economic offences constitute a class apart and need to be visited with a different approach in the matter of bail. The economic offences having deep-rooted conspiracies and involving huge loss of public funds need to be viewed seriously and considered as grave offences affecting the economy of the country as a whole and thereby posing serious threat to the financial health of the country.While granting bail, the court has to keep in mind the nature of accusations, the nature of evidence in support thereof, the severity of the punishment which conviction will entail, the character of the accused, circumstances which are peculiar to the accused, reasonable possibility of securing the presence of the accused at the trial, reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being tampered with, the larger interests of the public, State and other similar considerations.
Grant of anticipatory bail at the stage of investigation may frustrate the investigating agency in interrogating the accused and in collecting the useful information and also the materials which might have been concealed. Success in such interrogation would elude if the accused knows that he is protected by the order of the court. Grant of anticipatory bail, particularly in economic offences would definitely hamper the effective investigation. Having regard to the materials said to have been collected by the non-applicant Enforcement Directorate and considering the stage of the investigation, I am of the view that it is not a fit case to grant anticipatory bail.In a case of money-laundering where it involves many stages of “placement”, “layering i.e. funds moved to other institutions to conceal origin” and “interrogation i.e. funds used to acquire various assets”, it requires systematic and analysed investigation which would be of great advantage.In the case in hand, there are allegations of laundering the proceeds of the crime and the Enforcement Directorate claims to have certain specific inputs from various sources.The Court further observes that having regard to the nature of allegations and the stage of the investigation, the investigating agency has to be given sufficient freedom in the process of investigation, and the grant of anticipatory bail to the appellant will hamper the investigation and this is not a fit case for exercise of discretion to grant anticipatory bail to the appellant.On careful perusal of the record including the averments made in the application, the documents attached with the application and the nature of allegations leveled against the petitioner, the applicant does not deserve the concession of bail in anticipation of his arrest as the allegations against the applicant are very grave and serious.The grant of anticipatory bail will certainly hamper the investigation.This Court at this stage restrains from specific comments upon the merits of the case, but it will be suffice to say that the instant case is not a fit case for grant of anticipatory bail. Therefore, the application is rejected.The observations made herein above shall not be taken to be any comment upon the merits of the case and shall relate to the disposal of the instant application only.