July 5, 2021 3:37:49 pm
The Delhi High Court Monday extended the interim protection granted on June 21 to PPK Newsclick Studio Private Limited and NewsClick’s editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha till July 29 in a money laundering case. A vacation bench of the HC last month had restrained the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from taking any coercive action against them after hearing their petition seeking a copy of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR).
On June 23, the ED had moved an application before the court, saying that it will provide a copy of the ECIR to them and sought disposal of the petition filed by NewsClick and Purkayastha. Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioners, on Monday, told the court that the ECIR has still not been provided to them and that Purkayastha, in the meantime, has also filed a plea for anticipatory bail. NewsClick has also filed another petition before the court seeking quashing the ED case, he the court.
ED had raided the premises of NewsClick and residences of its editors in February in connection with a case of alleged money laundering and conducted search and seizure operations. The ED case related to alleged foreign funding is based on an FIR registered by Delhi Police’s Economic Offence Wing last year.
Justice Mukta Gupta on Monday observed that when ED itself on June 23 said it would provide the ECIR to the petitioners, it “ought to have” provided it to them by now. ED could have annexed the ECIR with the June 23 application, added the court.
“You have not served any notice thereafter. They get an interim protection from this court. Where will this deadlock come to an end? Or you keep waiting that one fine day the petitioner will come and join you, so when he thinks fit he will come and join without you giving any notice (to him) and then you will give ECIR,” the court told the ED, adding that the case can be disposed of only when the ECIR is supplied to NewsClick.
NewsClick through advocate Arshdeep Singh Khurana last month had approached the court seeking a copy of the ECIR registered against them and protection from any coercive action in the meantime. Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan, representing the company had argued that they are unable to take any legal remedies in absence of the information about allegations against them. ED had initially opposed the petition.
Meanwhile, the court has issued notice to the ED in Purkayastha’s petition seeking bail and NewsClick’s petition seeking quashing of the money laundering case. The cases will be heard next on July 29.
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