Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan gets bail on PMLA case tootext_fields
Lucknow: Allahabad High Court granted Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan bail on Friday in a money laundering case charged against him by the Enforcement Directorate. He will be released once the verification is over.
Kappan, who was arrested en route to Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras to cover the rape and murder of a Dalit woman, was given relief by the High Court after two years of imprisonment in the state.
The Supreme Court had granted him bail on terror charges filed under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and other related laws in September. However, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case, charged by ED in 2021, prevented his release.
Hinting that trial would begin, a Lucknow court had framed charges against him and six others under PMLA earlier this month. The police alleged that the accused in the case were members of the banned Popular Front of India (PFI) and its student wing, Campus Front of India (CFI), NDTV reported. They claimed that he was going to Hathras as per directions from PFI to instil and spread communal tension there.
Kapan had repeatedly denied that he had any kind of involvement in terror activities. He had submitted his sole intention for going to Hathras was to report the story there.
When the apex court granted him bail on terror charges, opposition parties as well as journalists’ groups, welcoming the order, alleged that Kappan was a “soft target” for the BJP regime in UP for being a Muslim.
Kappan, along with co-accused Atikur Rehman, Mohammad Alam and Masud Ahmad, were arrested in October 2020 in UP’s Mathura. Days before that, a Dalit woman was gang-raped, killed and cremated in the dark night in her village by the district administration. The incident incited widespread protests, and Yogi Adityanth’s BJP regime there fell into torrents of flak.