The Bombay High Court has dismissed a plea filed by Shiv Sena leader and former Member of Parliament Anandrao Adsul seeking quashing of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) proceedings against him in a money laundering case.
By: Himkiran Kaur Sethi, The Law School, University of Jammu
Adsul can use the statutory remedy of anticipatory bail, according to Justice Nitin Jamdar and SV Kotwal, and there is no need to interfere with the proceedings under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
“As regards the protection from arrest is concerned, the petitioner has a remedy under the CrPC. In these circumstances, the writ petition is rejected,” the Court ordered.
The Court also stated that it will refrain from making any comment on the merits of the petition to avoid jeopardizing Adsul’s alternative remedies.
“Considering that the Petitioner has a statutory remedy under section 438 of CrPC and any observation by us on the merits of the matter against the petitioner will prejudice the petitioner in case the petitioner approaches the competent court for anticipatory bail; we refrain from elaborating the same in this order. However, it cannot be said that there is no material against the petitioner,” the Court said.
Adsul has filed a challenge to the ED’s investigation into the suspected 980 Crore fraud at the City Co-operative Bank.
Surprisingly, the Economic Offences Wing of Mumbai Police had launched a case for criminal breach of trust, defrauding, and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code based on Adsul’s allegation regarding suspected irregularities in the loan distribution by City Co-operative Bank.
Later, the ED issued three summonses to Adsul in connection with the case, requiring him to attend in person or through a representative, but Adsul did not reply to all three summonses.
Adsul filed a complaint with the High Court, alleging coercion.
Adsul requested the following reliefs:
- Copies of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR);
- Quashing ECIRs;
- Quashing summons;
- Prohibiting ED from issuing future summons;
- Refraining from adopting any coercive action based on the ECIR.
Adsul also sought a non-coercive temporary remedy, which was denied by the High Court on October 1, 2021.
Adsul’s lawyer, Abhinav Chandrachud, said that Adsul had submitted the complaint and that the only reason the ED had not taken action against him was that he was hospitalized and would be detained soon after he was released.
Chandrachud made three major contributions to the prayers.
- The ED procedures were started when Ravi Rana, the husband of Navneet Kaur, a BJP MP, filed a complaint. The Bombay High Court had revoked and confiscated Rana’s caste certificate because it was obtained via “systematic fraud” in response to petitions, including one by Adsul, which was subsequently stayed by the Supreme Court.
- The proceedings should be invalidated on the grounds of ED’s mala fide and malice.
- Adsul is provided a copy of the ECIR for him to pursue proper legal actions. The summons also lacked sufficient information as to why Adsul was summoned.
ED’s attorney, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, objected to the petition, claiming that there were alternative legislative remedies available and that the Court’s exceptional authority was not warranted.
He also displayed court papers comprising statements taken in support of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR).
The Court rejected Adsul’s argument, noting that no officer purportedly acting on Rana’s orders had been identified in the petition.
“Merely by hinting that the husband of Navneet Kaur Rana belongs to the ruling dispensation, the requirement of establishing malafides as a legal ground is not satisfied,” the Court said.
The court found no other reason to intervene and halt proceedings under the PMLA after reaching this determination.