The Karnataka High Court has ordered an interim stay in a money laundering case filed by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) against Bineesh Kodiyeri, the son of the late senior Kerala CPM leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
Bineesh Kodiyeri, 38, was arrested by the ED in October 2020 in connection with a drug case registered by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) against an alleged associate Mohammed Anoop who was arrested in Bengaluru earlier. Bineesh, who was not charged in the drug case, was granted bail a year after incarceration in October 2021.
A single-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court on Thursday granted an interim stay in the ED case against Bineesh – in which charges are now set to be framed – after it was argued that the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 cannot be invoked if the accused is not charged in any linked or “predicate offence”.
The high court was told that the ED has approached the Supreme Court for cancellation of the bail granted to Bineesh Kodiyeri in 2021 by the Karnataka High Court.
The ED arrested Bineesh in 2020 after an alleged drug dealer Mohammed Anoop, arrested by the NCB in August 2020, claimed he was involved in the sale and purchase of narcotics and that he was a close associate of Bineesh. The ED and NCB probe found that Bineesh had allegedly transferred over Rs 50 lakh to Anoop’s bank accounts.
“Fund trail investigation also established that a huge amount of unaccounted funds were regularly credited in his accounts by Bineesh Kodiyeri. These were preceded by large cash deposits in Kerala into the accounts of Bineesh Kodiyeri,” the ED stated in earlier court proceedings in the case.
“Mohammed Anoop is a benamidar of Bineesh Kodiyeri and all his financial dealings were done on the instructions of Bineesh Kodiyeri,” the ED alleged.
Bineesh argued that he had only loaned funds to Anoop and that he was not aware of the illegal activities of the alleged drug dealer.
The ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Prasanna Kumar argued that PMLA is also applicable to people who assist in the generation of illegal funds through crime and not just to those accused in the predicate offence.