Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Wednesday challenged in the Delhi High Court an order permitting ED to retain the documents which were seized from his premises in connection with a money laundering case. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva allowed Singh’s application to challenge the May 16, 2016 decision of the adjudicating authority and also noted the objection of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to the maintainability of the plea as well as the main petition. Singh, in his amendment application, has contended that retention of documents was permitted without allowing him to file a reply to ED’s plea before the adjudicating authority to retain the seized material.
In his main petition, Singh has sought the reasons for carrying out the search and seizure at his premises and to quash the proceedings against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He has sought quashing of an April 19 order of the adjudicating authority and the May 12 decision of the appellate tribunal dismissing his plea to provide him with the “reasons to believe” which formed the basis for the search and seizure of the documents. On July 8, the high court had directed ED to place before it in a sealed cover the documents which formed the basis for the search and seizure of the material from the CM’s premises.
His counsel today claimed that ED has not yet complied with the court’s July 8 order.
The court, thereafter, directed ED to comply with the order and listed the matter for further hearing on November 10. The high court had earlier pulled up, ED saying it cannot act as “super investigator” and not share records with it. The court had said it would peruse the records only to see whether “reasons to believe” for the search and seizure have been placed by ED before the adjudicating authority as Singh was contending that there was no reasons for carrying out the search and seizure.
However, it had made it clear that it would not disclose the reasons to the petitioner. In his main petition, Singh has contended that “reasons for initiating the search are ex-facie illegal, arbitrary and liable to be quashed”. His petition also states that he was made a party in a plea by ED for retention of documents seized by it, “without forming any reason to believe and by mechanically issuing the notice”.