Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed till November 16 the Lookout Circular issued against controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi and asked him to appear before the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in a money laundering case lodged against him. Justice A K Pathak, however, refused to grant any interim protection from arrest and taking coercive action against Qureshi while asking him to appear before ED on November 22. He had recently managed to go abroad despite an LoC issued against him by the agency.
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“I am not inclined to grant any interim order. However, till November 16, the LoC (issued by ED) shall remain stayed,” the judge said. It further said that it is not going to restrain the enforcement agency from taking any “coercive steps” against Qureshi.
“You appear before them (ED). To arrest you or not is upon them. I am not going to say anything. If you don’t want any coercive steps against you, then go for an anticipatory bail,” the court said.
The court’s direction came on Qureshi’s plea filed through his daughter in which he urged the court to grant him protection from arrest or any coercive action against him by the agency once he joins the investigation.
Qureshi’s counsel R K Handoo also submitted that the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR)lodged by ED should be quashed as it is an abuse of process of law.
Declining the request, Justice Pathak said, “How can ECIR be quashed at the preliminary stage of the investigation?”.
The court, however, issued notice to Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Finance, ED and Foreigner Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) seeking their response, within four weeks, on Qureshi’s plea to quash the ECIR.
ED had asked Qureshi to report before its investigating officer next week in connection with a case registered against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Qureshi managed to leave for Dubai recently after showing a trial court order obtained in an income tax case in which which he has been granted bail, and not in the case in which he has been issued LoC.
ED had registered a case against Qureshi under the PMLA last year. He is under scanner of probe agencies for alleged tax evasion and hawala like dealings.