October 26, 2021 6:58:30 pm
The Delhi High Court Tuesday ordered a status quo in respect of the attached bank accounts and fixed deposits of Amnesty International and Indians for Amnesty International Trust by Enforcement Directorate and said that the same will continue till its appeal against the confirmation of the attachment order is taken up for consideration by the PMLA Appellate Tribunal, as and when it becomes functional.
Justice Rekha Palli passed the order while disposing of the petition moved by the human rights watchdog for a stay on the order passed by the Adjudicating Authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in August 2021. The fixed deposits of Amnesty International were attached in February.
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 various bank accounts and fixed deposit accounts belonging to Amnesty International India Limited and Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) on November 26 last year.
Amnesty International’s counsel advocate Arshdeep Singh argued before the court that under the PMLA rules, no prior notice is required to be given by the ED, after confirmation of the attachment order, prior to transferring the money out of the attached accounts. Under such circumstances, Amnesty International has no other choice but to seek a stay against the order under challenge to prevent ED from taking possession of the money in the attached accounts, it was contended.
However, the court was told that all the matters before the Appellate Tribunal are being re-notified en bloc to other dates due to the non-availability of the coram – the situation has occurred because of the expiry of the tenure of acting Chairman of Appellate Tribunal. It was further contended that the high court has granted a stay in a number of similar petitions which have come before it since April 2021.
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