July 14, 2021 10:28:12 pm
Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court with a plea to quash the alleged money laundering case registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) concerning the plot allotment in Panchkula to the AJL (Associated Journal Limited), publisher of the National Herald newspaper, pending in the court of Special Judge of PMLA, Panchkula.
The plea will be heard by the division bench of Justice Ajay Tewari and Justice Vikas Bahl.
The bench hearing the matter has asked the special court of Panchkula to defer the proceedings in the ED case against Hooda beyond August 18, which is the next date of hearing before the HC.
The division bench of Justice Ajay Tewari also asked the special court not to insist on the presence of the accused in the meantime. Hooda, as such, would not be required to appear before the special court on July 15, when the matter was scheduled to come up for hearing. A detailed order in the matter is yet to be released by the HC bench.
Bhupinder Hooda, through his counsels, senior advocate RS Cheema and advocate Arshdeep Singh Cheema, contended that there is neither any legal sanction nor any material warranting his prosecution under the offence of money laundering. It was further argued that the complaint is liable to be dismissed as the same is violative of constitutional protection granted under Article 20 (1) of the Constitution of India.
The counsels have claimed that no prosecution can be lawfully launched on the basis of a complaint which, admittedly from the respondent side, is still a subject matter of further probe. Hence, Hooda has sought quashing of the August 2019 complaint and September 2019 proceedings under which cognisance was taken by the trial court.
On behalf of the respondents, Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta, and senior counsel for ED, Arvind Moudgil, during the hearing, sought adjournment of the issue. The HC bench thus adjourned the matter for August 18.
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