Thursday, February 9, 2023

Delhi High Court rejects The Quint founder Raghav Bahl plea in money laundering case

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The Delhi High Court on has dismissed the plea by the famous journalist and founder of The Quint Raghav Bahl who sought for quashing of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation into a money laundering case against him.

Justice Jasmeet Singh of the Delhi High Court not only refused to quash order but also the Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against Bahl.

The Court found that the allegations against scribe are yet to reach the stage of trial and whether there has been generation of proceeds of crime is still being investigated.

The Court ordered that the petition with regards to the quashing of ECIR is premature and is hereby rejected.

The judge said while talking about LOC said that that the allegations against Bahl are with regard to compromising the economic interests of India, and thus quashing it at this stage will be premature.

The Court, said that that if Bahl needs to travel abroad for work his right will not be curtailed, and that he could file an appropriate application for the same.

Justice Singh also recorded an undertaking by Bahl that he will cooperate with the investigation.

The I-T Department had initiated proceedings against the Bahl under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act of 2015 for alleged irregularities in the returns filed for assessment year 2018-2019.

The ED case arose from action initiated by the Income Tax (IT) department against Bahl alleging non-disclosure of funds used for purchase of assets in London. The IT department had alleged irregularities in the income tax returns filed by Bahl filed for the year 2018-19.

Enforcement Directorate counsel Amit Mahajan had said in the high court that no coercive action against Bahl was taken by the agency and he would be now called once a week from now on. Bahl’s lawyer had stated that after re-filing the income tax return for 2018-19, it was cleared by assessing authorities and, therefore, money laundering proceedings cannot be allowed to go on against Bahl

Based on the same, it had initiated action against Bahl under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act of 2015. This led to the money laundering case against Bahl by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Advocate Zoheb Hossain, who appeared for Enforcement Directorate, said that the the matter was argued before the Allahabad High Court which dismissed the plea and even an appeal against the order has been rejected by the Supreme Court.

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