The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Jharkhand government on a petition by an accused seeking bail in a money laundering case in which former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda is the main accused.
The vacation bench of the apex court headed by Justice Deepak Verma and comprising Justice K S Radhakrishnan issued notice after senior counsel R Venkataramani told the court that his client, Vikas Kumar Sinha, was being kept in incarceration since November 6, 2009 even though all the investigations against him were complete.
The senior counsel told the court that the petitioner was not being released because investigation against the main accused Koda was not complete.
Assailing the stand of the prosecution agency, the senior counsel said that the case against Sinha had nothing to do with the pending investigations against Koda as the complaint filed by the state against the petitioner does not name Koda as one of the accused.
He said that the rejection of Sinha’s bail application both by the trial court and the high court violated Article 21 of the constitution, guaranteeing the protection of life and liberty of the citizens.
During the hearing, the court wanted to know in what way the “accused was connected to the former chief minister”.
The senior counsel for the petitioner said: “I have no connection with the chief Minister. I was a visitor to the chief minister’s office.”
At this, Justice Verma said: “So you are a middleman.”
The petitioner’s counsel said the entire case, including a vigilance case and the prosecution story, was based on newspaper reports.
The senior counsel said that the petitioner could not be tried under those provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act that were incorporated in the Act after the alleged commissioning of the offence.
The prosecution of the petitioner under the new provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act was in breach of the Article 20(2) of the constitution, he said.
The article says that “no person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of the law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence…,” he said.