New Delhi, November 17
The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed the proceedings against Hero Motocorp chairman Pawan Kant Munjal in a money laundering case.
Issuing notice to the Enforcement Directorate on Munjal’s petition, Justice Saurabh Banerjee posted the matter for further hearing on March 21.
A similar stay order was recently passed on the predicate offence under the Customs Act and the petitioner has been exonerated by the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) in that matter, the HC noted. “Accordingly, there shall be a stay of proceedings under the Enforcement Case Information Report,” it added.
Justice Banerjee, however, clarified the stay was in relation to the petitioner only and the ED was free to proceed further according to law. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had filed a prosecution complaint last year on charges of allegedly “carrying, attempting to export and illicit export of prohibited items, that is, foreign currency” against Munjal, a third party service provider company called SEMPL and individuals identified as Amit Bali, Hemant Dahiya, KR Raman and some others.
The DRI, an investigation arm of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), filed a charge-sheet before a Delhi court under Section 135 of the Customs Act (evasion of duty or prohibitions) in the case.
Subsequently, the ED registered the present case under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Highlighting that the high court stayed the proceedings in the DRI matter on November 3, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the petitioner, on Friday argued when the proceedings in the DRI case i.e. the predicate offence had been stayed, the money laundering case could not go on. The ED counsel opposed the petition on the ground that it was not maintainable and was premature. He said money laundering was a separate offence, which could be probed even if there was a stay order in the predicate offence.
Recently, the ED alleged Munjal used foreign currency issued in the name of others for personal expenditure abroad to “override” RBI rules and attached his assets worth Rs 24.95 crore as part of a money laundering investigation. (With PTI inputs)
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