New Delhi (ILNS): The court of Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana today declared Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Jayantilal Sandesra and Hiteshkumar Narendrabhai Patel as fugitive economic offenders. The court issued this order while hearing a plea by the Enforcement Directorate.
The plea filed ED, Delhi, sought the declaration and also an order for the confiscation of their properties.
Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju had submitted that open-ended non-bailable warrants were issued by the court in 2018 against the respondents, who are facing trial under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for the offence of money laundering in excess of Rs 100 crores.
The respondents had fled from the country and have been evading the process of law. They deliberately chose not to return to the country and face trial. They have been shifting their base from one country to another to escape the clutches of law.
The respondent accused opposed the application and submitted that the applicant lacked authority to move the instant application, and the NBWs issued against the respondents are no longer in force. Also, the proceedings cannot be segregated for the purpose of declaring the Respondents as fugitive economic offenders and confiscation of their properties.
The Court made note of the authority letter in favour of applicant Prem Malik, who is a Deputy Director, and observed that he was duly authorised to institute the instant application. Even if the Manual of Office Procedure (Ministry of Personnel) was not strictly followed in issuance of the said authority letter, that issue is a mere procedural irregularity and is not sufficient to negate the authority vested in the applicant Prem Malik to move the instant application.
The Court observed that the respondents’ contention that the proceedings cannot be segregated for the purpose of declaring the Respondents as fugitive economic offenders and confiscation of their properties was meritless and deserved to be discarded.
The Court observed that it is vested with a discretionary power with respect to the issue of confiscation of the properties of the fugitive economic offender. The proceedings with respect to confiscation ensues upon an observation by the court that an individual has been declared fugitive economic offender.
The Court added that the Petitioner is the master of his application and therefore has an absolute liberty to choose the relief claimed and abandon the reliefs in which he is not interested. The Respondents cannot foist their will upon the Petitioner in the matter of making choices.
Read the order here;202900000322017-22