On August 10, the Karnataka High Court stayed further proceedings against Bineesh Kodiyeri, son of late senior CPI(M) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, in a money laundering case – in which charges are set to be framed – filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The accused’s counsel, Senior Advocate K Suman, argued that taking cognizance of offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the absence of charge-sheeting the accused for a predicate offence is impermissible.
Meanwhile, the Special Public Prosecutor Prasanna Kumar argued that PMLA is applicable to people who assist in the generation of illegal funds through crime and not just to those accused in a predicate offence.
“Sri. K. Suman, Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner submits that the cognizance taken of the offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the absence of the petitioner having been charge sheeted for the predicate offence is impermissible. Interim order as prayed for insofar it relates to petitioner herein. List this matter after two weeks,” Justice Hemant Chandangoudar said while granting an interim stay on the proceedings.
Furthermore, the high court was informed that the ED had moved the Supreme Court for cancellation of bail granted to the accused by the Karnataka High Court in 2021.
ED arrested the accused in October 2020 in connection to the ‘Bengaluru Drug Case,’ which the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) registered against Kodiyeri’s alleged associate Mohammad Anoop. The NCB arrested Mohd Anoop in August 2020, alleging that he was involved in the sale and purchase of narcotics and was a close associate of Kodiyeri.
However, Kodiyeri was not changed in the drug case and was granted bail in 2021. Furthermore, the ED and NCB probe has revealed that Kodiyeri allegedly transferred about Rs 50 lakh to Mohd Anoop’s bank accounts.
“Fund trail investigation also established that a huge amount of unaccounted funds were regularly credited in his accounts by Bineesh Kodiyeri. These were preceded by large cash deposits in Kerala into the accounts of Bineesh Kodiyeri,” the ED said earlier.
“Mohammed Anoop is a benamidar of Bineesh Kodiyeri and all his financial dealings were done on the instructions of Bineesh Kodiyeri,” the ED had alleged.
It was further alleged that Mohd Anoop has accepted that “Bineesh is his boss and he did whatever Binesh Kodiyeri told him to do for which Bineesh used to pay him.” Meanwhile, Kodiyeri had argued that he loaned funds to help Mohd Anoop and was unaware of his illegal activities as a drug dealer.