Justify holding on to Anandraj’s passport,High Court asks ED

The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Enforcement Directorate to justify their action of holding on to the passport of Philip Anandraj...

Written by Mohan Kumar | Mumbai | Published: February 10, 2009 2:08 am

Anandraj is allegedly involved in multi-billion-dollar foreign exchange and money laundering case

The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to justify their action of holding on to the passport of Philip Anandraj,who is allegedly a part of the multi-billion dollar foreign exchange and money laundering case involving Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali Khan.

“How can you justify that you can hold on to the passport,” Justice R P Sondurbaldota asked the ED counsel. Anandraj’s advocate P Janardhan argued that the ED has no powers to keep the passport.

The HC had last year asked the ED Director to dispose off an application filed by Anandraj seeking the release of his passport. The ED had then rejected his application on the grounds that the investigation would conclude in two months.

“He’s already applied before FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) and they have rejected it,” Justice Sondurbaldota said.

ED counsel Y R Mishra contended that FEMA has powers to seize documents and as per a Supreme Court judgment passport can be treated as a document. The court,after going through it,observed that passport can be treated as a property.

The court adjourned the hearing till February 16.

A special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) had earlier ordered the release of the passport. This was challenged by the assistant director of FEMA and PMLA and secured a stay on it.

The authorities contended that the special court did not have the power to do so since the court has not taken cognizance of the matter and that the case is being investigated under FEMA also.

Anandraj’s passport was first seized by the Income Tax authorities following a raid at an apartment in Pune where Hasan Ali had put up Anandraj.

Anandraj contends that he’s been staying here for past few years and he had come for two weeks to sort out financial liabilities with Hasan Ali due to which he had lost his restaurant in Switzerland.

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