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Plea for increasing security amount deposited by Moin Qureshi transferred to another bench


Plea for increasing security amount deposited by Moin Qureshi transferred to another bench
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The Delhi High Court Wednesday transferred to another bench a plea by the CBI seeking a three-time increase in the security amount to be deposited by controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi, accused in a cheating and corruption case, to travel to the UAE and Pakistan. Justice Chandra Shekhar, who had earlier sought Qureshi's response on the CBI's plea, sent the case to another single judge, who is hearing a similar matter related to a co-accused.

The court was informed by the counsel appearing in the matter that a similar plea involving co-accused Pradeep Koneru is pending before Justice Najmi Waziri. Koneru's issue relates to security amount to be deposited by him for travelling abroad. The CBI's plea has been listed for hearing on Thursday before Justice Waziri. The court had earlier issued notice to Qureshi seeking his reply on the plea of the probe agency which has requested the security deposited be increased from Rs 2 crore to Rs 6 crore and also contended the trial court ought to have mandated higher amount as was done by the high court for a co-accused in the case.

Qureshi, on February 1, was allowed by a trial court to travel to the UAE from February 15-23 for attending the Gulf Food Festival and from March 6-20 to Pakistan to attend his niece's wedding. The trial court had directed Qureshi to furnish additional security of Rs 2 crore in the form of bank guarantee and warned that in case of violation of any of the conditions imposed, the amount would be forfeited.

He was also asked to surrender his passport within 24 hours of his arrival in the country. While the CBI sought enhancement of the amount, Qureshi moved an application in the trial court to reduce the security to Rs 50 lakh, the agency had earlier told the high court.

The ED and the CBI had opposed before the lower court Qureshi's plea to travel abroad on the apprehension that he may not return to face the trial. The CBI had urged the trial court that stringent security conditions be put on him as was done in the case of the co-accused by the high court.

Qureshi had sought permission of the trial court to travel to the UAE from February 9-24 to meet buyers and attend the Gulf Food Festival for purposes of promoting and growing his business. And to Lahore and Karachi in March to attend a relative's wedding and to permit him to retain his passport between the trips to obtain visa for Pakistan. The court had in 2017 granted him bail in a case in which the ED had alleged that Qureshi was involved in hawala transactions through Delhi-based hawala operators Parvez Ali of Turkman Gate and M/s South Delhi Money Changer (DAMINI) in Greater Kailash-1.

The ED has challenged the bail order in the high court which is pending. The CBI had lodged a case against him after the ED and Income Tax department's probe into money laundering allegations against Qureshi, in which ongoing investigations have allegedly revealed involvement of senior public servants. The probe agency had earlier alleged that money has been sent abroad by the accused from one of the witnesses in the investigation through hawala channels in exchange for help provided to him in a CBI case.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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