Money Laundering Case: Delhi HC Refuses Relief For Virbhadra’s Kin

The Himachal CM’s kin had challenged the ED’s provisional attachment of some assets in a money laundering case.

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Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh. (Photo: Reuters)

The Delhi High Court refused to grant any interim protection to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s children on Wednesday. Aparajita Kumari and Vikramaditya Singh had challenged the Enforcement Directorate’s provisional attachment of some of their assets in a money laundering case.

We will give them (ED, Ministry of Finance) an opportunity to file a response and then we will see if there is a need to protect you. We don’t see any urgency to pass any interim order now.
Bench of Chief justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, Delhi High Court

Court Issues Notice to ED and Centre

The bench, meanwhile, issued notices to the ED and Centre on the plea filed by Aprajita and Vikramaditya, who have also sought a stay on the 23 March provisional attachment order (PAO) of ED, saying it has “exceeded its jurisdiction”.

During the hearing, senior advocate Amit Sibal, who appeared for the petitioners, requested the court to stay the further proceedings in the matter but the bench said that it will go through the response filed by the Centre and will then hear the matter.

The bench also told Sibal that if any notice is issued to them before the next date of hearing, they can approach the court.

Petitioners Claimed ED’s Actions Motivated and Mala Fide

Aparajita and Vikramajeet had moved the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, seeking quashing of a provisional order of ED to attach some of their assets under the PMLA. ED has provisionally attached assets worth Rs 15,85,639 belonging to Aprajita and Rs 62,86,747 of Vikramaditya, their joint petition said and added that this order was passed without them being named in the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) of 27 October 2015 lodged against Virbhadra and others under PMLA.

The plea said that the basis of passing PAO under PMLA are the Income Tax department’s inquiries and investigation “which itself are under challenge and are not conclusive of any allegation” made against them.

Any finding on the basis of inconclusive proceedings is bad and unsustainable in law. Action taken by respondents (ED and Centre) are motivated due to extraneous reasons and are presumptive, mala fide and arbitrary.
Petition by Aparajita and Vikramaditya

The plea challenged the PAO claiming that respondents have exceeded their jurisdiction by abusing the process of law and powers conferred to them by the statute passed by PAO dated 23 March, 2016, attaching the properties of the petitioners. It also contended that their property could not be attached without giving them opportunity to explain sources of property under attachment and that PAO was also bad in law as the property was not bought from proceeds of crime.

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