Monday, August 8, 2022

Delhi High Court adjourns hearing in Mehbooba Mufti plea against PMLA provisions

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday deferred the hearing of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s plea against provisions in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 to December 23.

The development came after the Division Bench led by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was informed that the Centre has already moved a transfer petition before the Supreme Court, which is likely to come up for hearing within a week.

Moved in March 2021, the plea by People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti challenged Section 50 of the PMLA Act, which gives powers to authorities regarding summons, production of documents and to give evidence; and sought a stay on the summon issued by the Enforcement Directorate.

After receiving the summons, Mufti had, on March 5, tweeted, “GOIs tactics to intimidate & browbeat political opponents to make them toe their line has become tediously predictable. They don’t want us to raise questions about its punitive actions & policies. Such short-sighted scheming won’t work.”

The plea stated that she has not been informed if she is being summoned as an accused or as a witness. She has also not been informed of what she is being summoned in connection with, and the scheduled offence under the PMLA which gave rise to the proceedings in respect of which summons has been issued to her.

The plea further stated that Mufti is not the subject of investigation, nor is she an accused, in any of the scheduled offences under the PMLA, to the best of her knowledge.

The plea averred that ever since Mufti was released from preventive detention following the formal abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, there have been a series of hostile acts by the State against her, acquaintances and old family friends, who have all been summoned by the ED and a roving inquiry about her personal, political and financial affairs was made, in the course of which their personal devices have been seized.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on an earlier occasion, sought an adjournment on the ground that a transfer petition was to be moved by the Centre before the Apex Court which is seized of a matter involving similar issue.

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