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Money laundering case: No coercive action with regard to attached assets of Anil Deshmukh till Jan 10, says Bombay HC

A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Madhav J Jamdar directed the ED to submit its affidavit in reply to a petition filed by Aarti Deshmukh challenging the provisional attachment of their assets by the agency.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: December 10, 2021 9:55:01 pm
Former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh (Express Photo: Prashant Nadkar, File)

The Bombay High Court on Friday said the Enforcement Directorate’s adjudicating authority can hear and pass final orders on the provisional attachment of assets of Maharashtra’s former home minister Anil Deshmukh and his wife Aarti in a money laundering case, but no coercive action shall be taken with regard to these properties till January 10.

A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Madhav J Jamdar directed the ED to submit its affidavit in reply to a petition filed by Aarti Deshmukh challenging the provisional attachment of their assets by the agency in connection with the money laundering case.

The court on Monday directed the adjudicating authority, which confirms the provisional attachments under PMLA, to continue hearing on whether the properties belonging to Deshmukh and his family members are from proceedings of alleged money laundering, but not to pass the final verdict till further orders of the HC.

Aarti Deshmukh and Premier Port Links Private Limited have challenged the proceedings before the adjudicating authority under the PMLA.
The petitioners, through senior advocate Vikram Chaudhri and advocate Inderpal Singh, had claimed that the authority was supposed to comprise three members, including the chairperson, but the present authority has a single member, and therefore is an incompetent body.

Deshmukh also sought direction to the ED to constitute an adjudicating authority strictly as per the PMLA and sought the current authority, having a single member, be restrained from conducting further proceedings.

On Friday, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh representing ED said that he was not present in the previous hearing and therefore the court should keep ED’s contentions to the plea including challenge to the maintainability open, which the court accepted.

“ASG Singh is correct in his submission that adjudicating authority under PMLA should be permitted to continue proceedings in accordance with law and as contemplated by statute. Obviously, while keeping all contentions expressly open including on maintainability, all orders may be made subject to the outcome of these proceedings. We only direct that if a final order is passed between now and 10th January 2022, the order and further steps taken will be subject to the orders of the court,” the bench said.

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