Delhi HC seeks response from ED on accused's plea in coal block case

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Representative Image

New Delhi [India], September 22 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from Enforcement Directorate (ED) to a petition filed by Ashok Kumar Mishra challenging a trial Court order issuing summon against him in connection with a coal block case.

Justice Yogesh Khanna issued notice to ED asking the probe agency to file a reply on the plea filed by Mishra. The Court listed the matter for further hearing on October 22.

Ashok Mishra, in his plea filed through advocates Vaibhav Tomar and Ridhima Mandhar, sought setting aside and quash the order dated June 26, 2021, passed by the Special Judge of Rouse Avenue District Court.

The trial court has issued a summons and taken cognizance of the offence under Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against the accused.

Senior counsel Vikas Pahwa, appearing for the petitioner, submitted the alleged offence was committed in West Bengal and even the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) on page 63 of the paper book shows the place of occurrence of offence as West Bengal and further the entire complaint of the ED does not show as to how the Special Judge, Delhi has jurisdiction to try and decide the matter.

He further submitted while taking cognizance, the Special Judge did not apply his mind as to if he has territorial jurisdiction or not. He also submitted that the petitioner is not well and he shall file an application for exemption from appearance before the learned trial court on September 29 and it is decided in accordance with the law.

On May 13, 2021, the ED filed a complaint under Section 45 of the PMLA in Rouse Avenue District Court against Ashok Mishra and Vikas Mishra.

ED has filed the concerned complaint under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Ashok Mishra and co-accused, namely Vikas Mishra alleging that he was involved in the laundering of proceeds of crime generated from the alleged illegal coal mining and theft carried out by Anup Majee in the leasehold areas of Eastern Coalfields situated in the State of West Bengal from July 2018 till 2020.

ED has alleged that accused Ashok in conspiracy with the co-accused used to receive large sums of money from Anup Majee at Lala through his accountant namely Neeraj Singh and driver namely Bamapada Dey and that this money was received on behalf of Vinay Mishra, brother of co-accused, Vikas Mishra, who was the General Secretary of the Trinamool Youth Congress in West Bengal, and hence a person of considerable influence and power in the State.

It is alleged that the said money was received by the petitioner in West Bengal and thereafter laundered by him.

"The Impugned Order has been passed without application of mind and contrary to the principles of law and in violation of the provisions of the PMLA. More specifically, it is submitted that the Special Judge had no jurisdiction whatsoever to entertain the said complaint and therefore could not have taken cognizance and issued summons vide the Impugned Order. The Impugned Order was passed in a mechanical manner without considering that the complaint does not disclose how the jurisdiction of the Ld. Special Court in New Delhi is made out," the petitioner said.

The Impugned Order violates the provisions of PMLA, CrPC, and the fundamental principle of territorial jurisdiction, the petitioner said.

"That the facts and circumstances of the instant case will also show that the Respondent has initiated a malafide and politically motivated prosecution. The Petitioner has been unnecessarily and falsely dragged into the political vendetta instituted through the Respondent," the petition further said.

"The above-mentioned Impugned Order has been erroneously passed by the Ld. Special Judge, because of the Ld. Special Judge in New Delhi lacked territorial jurisdiction to either take cognizance against the Petitioner or issue summons in this regard. A bare perusal of the Impugned Order will also show that the Ld. Special Judge has vaguely stated that both the accused persons have directly and intentionally indulged in money laundering activities, but completely ignored the place where the alleged activities took place and wrongly assumed jurisdiction over the State of West Bengal," it said. (ANI)

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