HC asks ED to place Virbhadra’s PMLA case docs in sealed cover

The Delhi High Court has asked ED to place before it in a sealed cover documents which formed the basis for search and seizure of materials from Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s premises in an alleged money laundering case.
“The Enforcement Directorate and others are directed to file the reasons to believe in a sealed cover before the next date of hearing,” Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said and posted the matter for further hearing on August 10.
During the brief hearing, senior advocate Amit Sibal, who appeared for Virbhadra, told the court they have filed an application for amendment to their main petition. Central government’s standing counsel Amit Mahajan said they have the copy of the documents on the basis of which search were conducted and documents were seized.
The high court had earlier pulled up ED saying it cannot act as “super investigator” and not share records with it.
The court had said it would peruse the records only to see whether “reasons to believe” for search and seizure have been placed by ED before the adjudicating authority as petitioners were contending that there were no reasons for carrying out search and seizure.
However, it had made it clear that it would not disclose the reasons to the petitioners.
Apart from seeking the reasons for carrying out search and seizure, the petitioners have also sought quashing of the proceedings against them under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In their plea, Virbhadra and others have sought quashing of an April 19 order of the adjudicating authority and May 12 decision of the appellate tribunal dismissing their pleas to provide them with the “reasons to believe” which formed the basis for the search and seizure of documents.
Virbhadra has contended that “reasons for initiating the search are ex-
facie illegal, arbitrary and liable to be quashed”.
His petition also states that he was made a party in a plea by ED for retention of documents seized by it, “without forming any reason to believe and by mechanically issuing the notice”.

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