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Delhi HC restrains ED from taking further steps against Eknath Khadse and his family’s properties till August 25

ED has been investigating NCP leader, Eknath Khadse, and Chaudhri for buying land in Pune’s Bhosari village for Rs 3.75 crore when its actual value was over Rs 31 crore

NCP leader Eknath Khadse

The Delhi High Court has restrained the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from taking further steps under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with the attachment of properties of Maharashtra’s former revenue minister Eknath Khadse and his family members till August 25.

Nearly 10 months after the ED attached assets worth Rs 5.73 crore of NCP leader Eknath Khadse, his wife Mandakini Khadse, and son-in-law Girish Chaudhri in connection with a money laundering case, the central agency on May 30 issued an eviction notice instructing them to vacate all the properties that were attached last year.

The agency has been investigating Khadse and Chaudhri for buying land in Pune’s Bhosari village for Rs 3.75 crore when its actual value was over Rs 31 crore. The ED has alleged that the land was purchased in Chaudhri’s name and the money for the deal was allegedly routed through five shell companies.

In October 2020, the ED had filed an Enforcement Case Information Report against Khadse, his wife, Chaudhri, and Abbas Ukani, the original owner of the land, for allegedly grabbing the land belonging to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) at Bhosari. Last August, the ED had frozen a bank account with a deposit of Rs 86 lakh and attached properties, including a bungalow in Lonavala and three land parcels in Jalgaon, belonging to Khadse’s family.

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Subsequently, the agency sought approval from the adjudicating authority, following which the ED served the accused a notice to vacate the attached properties. The Khadse family moved the Delhi High Court against the ED’s action.

On June 6, Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri was hearing a plea by Eknath Khadse, his wife Mandakini, and Chaudhri seeking quashing of the May 24 order of the adjudicating authority and staying the same till the disposal of the writ plea.

The writ petition argued by senior advocate Kirti Uppal also sought direction to the ED to stay the process of taking over possession of dwelling houses and properties of the petitioners attached as per the August 25, 2021, order till disposal of the present writ petition.

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The writ petition argued by Uppal also sought direction to the ED to stay the process of taking over possession of dwelling houses and properties of the petitioners attached as per the August 25, 2021, order till disposal of the present writ petition. The plea filed through advocate Mohan Tekavde also sought setting aside of the May 30 eviction notice issued by the ED to the petitioners.

Advocate Zoheb Hossain for ED took preliminary objection to the maintainability of writ plea on account of territorial jurisdiction. However, Uppal referred to orders of the Delhi High Court granting interim reliefs in the Shilpy Narang cases and other similar cases.

Justice Ohri noted in the order, “Keeping in view the fact that the respective contentions of the parties are still pending consideration before the Court and the further fact that the aforesaid orders have not been assailed by the respondent(s), it is directed that till the next date of hearing, the respondent(s) shall stand restrained from taking further steps as contemplated under Section 8 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.”

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The judge further directed, “The petitioners shall also stand restrained from disposing of or creating any third-party rights or encumbering the property which forms the subject matter of the provisional order of attachment.”

The court posted a further hearing to August 25.

First published on: 09-06-2022 at 03:06:51 pm
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