The Bombay High Court on Thursday decided to continue the November 25 interim relief granted to senior advocate Anand Grover of NGO Lawyers Collective from appearing before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) till January 6. The court had earlier granted him interim relief till December 14.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice M S Karnik extended the interim relief while hearing pleas by the NGO seeking to quash and set aside the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered by the ED and subsequent summons and probe arising out of the report.
The petitioners had also challenged summons issued by ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Last year, the CBI had registered a case against Lawyers Collective, an NGO run by senior lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, for alleged violations of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA). The case, which also mentioned Grover as an accused, was registered on a complaint from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which had in 2016 cancelled the FCRA license of the NGO for allegedly using foreign contributions for “political purposes”.
The bench on November 25 had said, “The (Covid-19) virus is spreading rapidly. The petitioner is around 80 years old and had tested Covid-19 positive. We have to respect humanity, his age and your (ED) proceedings too. Keep in mind whatever news is coming (related to the pandemic). We need to mind the present case, but in this situation in our state and rising cases in Delhi, the authority (ED) can defer summons and can postpone it.”
The HC had granted time to ED to file an affidavit in reply to the plea. On Thursday, the court continued earlier relief and posted the matter for hearing on January 6.