After three division benches of the Punjab and Haryana high court recused themselves from hearing a petition filed by Advocate Mukesh Mittal’s clerk Ajay Singh seeking quashing of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered on March 26, 2013, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, a division bench on Wednesday finally, issued notice of motion to the Directorate of Enforcement, Chandigarh, for filing its reply by March 3.
The petition came up for hearing before the division bench comprising Justices SS Saron and Gurmit Ram.
Ajay Singh, 42, who is working with advocate Mukesh Mittal since 2006, has reasoned that the offence under the PMLA has ceased to be cognisable in view of the amendment to Section 45 of the Act vide amendment Act 20 of 2005 with effect from July 1, 2005, thereby, necessitating the sanction/order from the jurisdictional magistrate in terms of section 155(2) of the Cr.PC before embarking upon any lawful investigation. He has further added that in terms of the section 157 of the Cr.PC pursuant to a registration of case involving a cognisable offence under section 154 of Cr.PC, it is imperative for the officer concerned to forthwith send a report of the same to the competent magistrate and in the present case copy of the ECIR was not sent to the magistrate.
The petitioner has also submitted that he is a “Director in some private limited companies. However, it is further a matter of record that petitioner has never withdrawn or deposited any amount in any of these companies.” He also has submitted that he had applied for an anticipatory bail in the case and the same is pending adjudication before the Chandigarh district court.
The petitioner has added that though he is not in any way related with the original FIR registered by the Chandigarh police on July 22, 2009, in a dispute of property owned by an NRI Tara Singh from where the case had started or the ECIR registered by the Enforcement Directorate taking cognisance of the FIR but he was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate a number of times for interrogation.
Before the case came up for hearing in front of the division bench headed by Justice SS Saron on Wednesday, on January 28 the division bench comprising Justices Rajive Bhalla and BS Walia had recused from hearing the case, the division bench comprising Justices SK Mittal and Deepak Sibal on January 30 and the third division bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Hari Pal Verma on February 6.