Updated: May 28, 2021 8:13:21 am
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL Thursday approached the Delhi High Court against the “continuous attachment” of its properties by the Enforcement Directorate.
The rights watchdog has said the provisional attachment order passed against it in November 2020 by the ED has lapsed, and sought a direction for quashing the notice issued to it by the Adjudicating Authority on May 25 directing it to attend the proceedings pending before it for final arguments on Friday.
The case is listed for hearing before a single bench of the High Court on Friday. A mention for an urgent hearing of the case was made on Thursday before the court.
In November 2019, an FIR was registered against Amnesty International by CBI for alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. The ED also registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against the organisation later and froze two bank accounts and 10 fixed deposit accounts belonging to Amnesty International India Ltd and Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) on November 26 last year.
As per the law, the provisional attachment order has to be confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority before 180 days.
Arguing that the order under challenge was valid only till May 25, Amnesty has said that the Adjudicating Authority, hearing the complaint seeking confirmation of the order, has become functus officio (an officer or agency whose mandate has expired) on account of expiry of the 180-day period. “Continuation of proceedings before the Authority in the impugned OC (Original Complaint of ED) is illegal, without jurisdiction and contrary to the clear statutory mandate under the PMLA,” it has said in the petition.
It has further contended that it cannot be deprived of its property merely by an “executive fiat” without any specific legal authority or without the support of law made by a competent legislature. “Great prejudice and irreparable injury shall be caused to the petitioner if the present petition is not allowed as prayed for in as much as properties worth Rs. 55 Lakhs of the Petitioner were attached by way of the impugned PAO,” Amnesty International has said.
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