By LE Desk

New Delhi, April 12: Extortion money paid to a terrorist organisation to protect one’s business is not terror funding, the Supreme Court has said in a judgment.

A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao released a Ranchi-based coal businessman, booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, on bail, The Hindu reported.

Sudesh Kedia was charged with funding of terror. But Mr. Kedia said he, in fact, was a victim of extortion. He had been paying money to a terror gang, Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), to ensure that he would be able to carry on with his business.

“Payment of extortion money does not amount to terror funding,” the court said, ordering his release on bail. 

Mr. Kedia said he was not a member of the TPC. “The members/operatives of TPC, according to the chargesheet, have been extorting money from businessmen in Amrapali and Magadh coal mining areas and they have amassed movable and immovable properties from the said money. They have also been obstructing smooth supply of transport of coal,” the court noted.

Mr. Kedia said there was no way he could transport coal smoothly without meeting the demand of the terrorist organisation.

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