Updated: September 23, 2021 6:52:12 pm
The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to respond to a plea by former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh seeking quashing of summons issued by the central agency asking him to appear before it in connection with a money laundering and corruption case.
A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar was on Thursday hearing Deshmukh’s plea. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who was representing the ED, sought an adjournment stating that Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta would like to address the court in connection with the plea.
Senior counsel Vikram Chaudhri and advocate Aniket Nikam, the lawyers representing Deshmukh, told the bench that the ED has been indulging in “demeaning” tactics by delaying the hearing.
“This petition demonstrates a hapless state of affairs… Tactics by ED are deplorable. Manner in which it (ED) applied the law, it becomes a matter of oppression. We are here before a division bench as the earlier bench asked us to move the division bench and we are ready to argue,” Deshmukh’s lawyer said.
Singh denied the allegations and said that it was the HC Registry that had raised an objection, asking the petitioner to approach the division bench, and there was no delay on the part of ED.
Earlier this month, when the plea was moved before the single-judge bench of Justice Sandeep K Shinde, the judge had stated that the high court’s division bench would hear Deshmukh’s plea. The court held that the HC Registry’s objection on maintainability of Deshmukh’s plea before the bench is correct. “Registry to place the petition before a division bench as per roster,” the judge had said.
The ED has issued at least five summons to Deshmukh, asking him to appear before it. Deshmukh, however, has not complied with any of them.
The court adjourned the hearing and posted it for hearing again on September 29 when Mehta would respond to Deshmukh’s plea.
“If they (ED) feel it necessary, they may file a reply,” the HC said.
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