NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant a stay on the fresh Enforcement Directorate (ED) notice issued against Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti in a money-laundering matter.
Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh, while posting the matter for April 16 for further hearing, asked the respondents to file a compilation of related judgements.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for ED and Union of India, submitted that Mehbooba Mufti has to appear before the agencies.
According to the ED, Mehbooba Mufti has been served with a fresh notice seeking her presence on March 22 before the agency.
PDP Leader approached the Delhi HC against the summons in the money laundering matter.
Mufti has also challenged the constitutional vires of section 50, and any incidental provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). Senior Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan has appeared for Mufti in the court.
Mehbooba Mufti, after receiving the notice of summon, had tweeted that “GOI’s tactics to intimidate and browbeat political opponents to make them toe their line has become tediously predictable.They don’t want us to raise questions about its punitive actions and policies. Such short-sighted scheming will not work”.
Section 50 of the PMLA empowers the ‘authorities’ (officers of the Enforcement Directorate), to summon any person to give evidence or produce records. All persons summoned are bound to answer questions put to them, and to produce the documents as required by the ED officers, failing which they can be penalised under the PMLA.
Mufti’s petition stated that she has not been informed she is being summoned either as an accused or as a witness. She has also not been informed of what she is being summoned in connection with.
Plea added that the petitioner (Mehbooba Mufti) is not the subject of investigation, nor is she an accused, in any of the scheduled offences under the PMLA, to the best of her knowledge.
The petitioner also wrote a letter to the ED pointing to the roving nature of the inquiry undertaken in the case thus far and that in the event of she being questioned, she will insist on the legitimacy of the process.
“As a responsible member of society, the petitioner is always ready and willing to aid the process of law. However, it is equally her duty to bring to the notice of this Court, deviations from due process in legislative and executive acts. The petitioner apprehended that the ‘Impugned Summons’ is a means of bringing undue pressure and harassment upon her and therefore, the petitioner wishes to assert her constitutional rights in this regard,” read the petition.