AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan gets bail in Delhi Waqf Board case
Granting relief to Khan, the judge said that there was no material on record to show that the grant-in-aid received by the Waqf Board in waqf funds were in Khan’s exclusive domain
New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday released Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Amanatullah Khan on bail in connection with the alleged irregularities at the Delhi Waqf Board, saying that prima facie misappropriation of funds is not made out against him as Khan had no exclusive control over waqf money.
Special judge Vikas Dhull, however, noted that prima facie Khan had favoured his relatives and people of his constituency by recruiting them in the Delhi Waqf Board in his capacity as the chairman, but in violation of the instructions of the Delhi government.
The judge, however, said that no bribe was given to Khan by these people in lieu of the recruitment as alleged by the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB).
Granting relief to Khan, the judge said that there was no material on record to show that the grant-in-aid received by the Waqf Board in waqf funds were in Khan’s exclusive domain being the chairman of the Delhi Waqf Board or he had the power to deal with the funds exclusively.
“Therefore, prima facie there is no material to show that entrustment of waqf funds to Khan or his having exclusive dominion over the same,” special judge Vikas Dhull said while releasing the MLA, who was arrested on September 16.
Saying that Khan is not at flight risk and there is no chance of him tampering with the evidence, the judge granted bail to the Okhla MLA on a personal bond and surety bond of ₹1 lakh each. The judge noted that the offences against the legislator are not “grave” and “serious” in nature.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which comes under the Lieutenant Governor (L-G), had arrested Khan following an FIR which had alleged that Khan misappropriated funds of the Waqf Board comprising grants-in-aid from the Delhi government.
According to the FIR, Khan, while working as chairman of the Delhi Waqf Board, had also illegally recruited 32 people by violating all norms and government guidelines. While five of them were his relatives, the remaining of them were people from his constituency who had allegedly given bribes to Khan to get appointed to the board.
The ACB had also alleged that as chairman of the Delhi Waqf Board, Khan rented out several properties of the Waqf Board illegally amid allegations of corruption and favouritism.
In his order, the judge however, held that “prima facie, there is no material on record to show that as to what extent loss was caused to the exchequer by grant of tenancy by Waqf Board during Khan’s tenure.
It also rejected the contention of the ACB that the accused had misbehaved with the police officials on duty as he was in custody during that time.
Khan was arrested after conducting raids at four locations across Delhi -- Zakia Nagar, Balta House and Jamia Nagar -- during which it recovered around ₹24 lakh in cash and two unlicensed weapons, along with ammunition.
However, the court rejected this contention and said, “Regarding the allegation of mis-appropriation of Rs.3.20 crores, by way of payment of salaries to 32 contractual employees, it has come on record that the accused being the Chairman had no exclusive control over the Waqf fund.
The judge also noted that there is no material on record to show that any of these recruited employees had paid any bribe to the accused in securing the employment.
“There is also no material on record to show that these employees had withdrawn their salaries from the Waqf Fund without doing any work or they were not qualified for the job. It has also come on record that previously also, Delhi Waqf Board had recruited employees without there being any rules and regulations,” the court said.
The court said that it is the admitted case of the ACB that 32 contractual employees have been paid salaries amounting to Rs.3.20 Crores through bank transfer, however, there is no material on record to show that any contractual employee after withdrawing salary amount, has repaid the same to Khan
“Further, there is also no material on record to show that contractual employees were being paid salary without performing the duties assigned to them. Therefore, prima facie entrustment of funds to the accused or its mis-appropriation is not made out and, therefore, the CBI in the previous case, had not invoked Section 409 (criminal breach of trust) IPC while charge sheeting the accused (Khan).
The court also said that prima facie no loss to the exchequer has been caused with regard to creation of tenancies pertaining to Waqf properties.
“Accused is also not a flight risk as he is a sitting MLA of Delhi Vidhan Sabha and on previous two occasions also, he was the MLA of Delhi Vidhan Sabha. Further, the accused has attended the previous 20 cases in which he has been discharged / acquitted which also shows that he has submitted himself to the process of law and has not absconded. Further, there is no chance of tampering of the evidence as primarily evidence in the present case is documentary in nature which already stands seized by the ACB,” the court said.
The agency has claimed that Khan has paid a salary of ₹3.2 crore between a period of March 2019-March 2021 in lieu of the salary of 32 employees at the Board, which it claimed is illegal.
The FIR has alleged that Khan misappropriated funds of the Waqf Board comprising grants-in-aid from the Delhi government.
According to the FIR, Khan while working as chairman of the Delhi Waqf Board, illegally recruited 32 people by violating all norms and government guidelines.
The then CEO of Delhi Waqf Board had clearly given a statement and issued a memorandum against such illegal recruitment, it said.
Further, it was alleged that as chairman of the Delhi Waqf Board, Khan rented out several properties of the Waqf Board illegally amid allegations of corruption and favouritism, it added.