The Allahabad High Court Friday granted bail to Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan in the case concerning the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Kappan has been in custody since September 9 under the PMLA case and was earlier detained for more than 700 days under the controversial Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) law.Siddique was arrested on October 5, 2020, by the Uttar Pradesh police while travelling to Hathras to report the rape and murder of a Dalit girl. The charges against Kappan include promoting enmity, outraging reli­gious feelings, sedition, criminal conspiracy, terrorist funding and tampering with computer source documents. However, the United States Committee on International Religious Freedom believes that Kappan is imprisoned because of his “religious identity and for reporting on religious freedom conditions.” Earlier on September 9, the Supreme Court of India granted bail to Kappan in his UAPA case. However, before Kappan could be released on bail, a complaint was filed under Sections 3 and 4 for money laundering read with Sections 44 and 45 of the PMLA.  In the complaint, it was alleged that Kappan is a member of the unlawful organisation Popular Front of India and visited Hathras with the intention to disturb communal harmony, instigate riots and fund anti-CAA protests which were collected from abroad through bogus and manufactured transactions.Judge Dinesh Kumar Singh observed that “except for allegations of Rs. 5,000/- transferred into the bank account of co-accused, Atikur Rahman, there is no other transaction involved in Kappan’s bank account.” J. Kumar further stated that:Considering the aforesaid facts, coupled with the contention on behalf of the accused-applicant that in the present case the twin conditions, as mentioned under Section 45 of the PMLA, are not attracted inasmuch as the proceeds of crime is less than Rs.1 Crore and there is no likelihood of the accused-applicant to commit the same offence in future…The court allowed the bail application considering the fact that the fact Kappan has already been in prison in predicate offences (UAPAP) from October 5, 2020, and was released on bail by the Supreme Court.

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