Monday, December 11, 2023

Supreme Court rejects plea related to ED probe on Chhattisgarh liquor scam case

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed as withdrawn, a petition filed by Nitesh Purohit, Promoter of the Giriraj Hotel in Raipur, in connection with the investigation taken up by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the Rs 2,000 crore liquor syndicate scandal of Chhattisgarh.

The Counsel appearing for the petitioner sought permission to withdraw before the Vacation Bench headed by Justice Bela M. Trivedi.  

A similar petition filed by accused Amit Singh was also to be heard today.

The High Court of Chhattisgarh had earlier rejected four petitions, which had challenged the investigation being conducted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the alleged Chhattisgarh liquor scam.

The petitions had sought to declare the actions initiated by ED, including their search & seizure and custodial interrogation, as illegal. The plea further sought to set the actions aside, along with all subsequent actions.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Vacation Bench of Justice Trivedi and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra had criticised the trend of petitioners bypassing other remedies and filing Article 32 petitions before the Apex Court to directly challenge summons or seek bail under the pretence of challenging the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). 

The Apex Court made these observations while hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the PMLA, which were filed by the officials of Chhattisgarh government implicated in the liquor scam in the state.

The officials sought to withdraw their petitions. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for ED, however, argued that the top court of the country must take a stand against what he referred to as a ‘trend,’ wherein a writ challenging the constitutionality of the Act was filed in order to get a ‘no coercive action’ order in the effect of an anticipatory bail. 

The SG contended that it was becoming a new ‘trend,’ which should be deprecated in no uncertain terms. 

He claimed that people were being approached and told that instead of asking for anticipatory bail, they should challenge the vires so that they get no coercive action. 

He said unless the Apex Court said something about it, the trend would keep going. He added that some observation has to be made.

Siding with the SG, Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju said the practice of approaching the Supreme Court with such repetitive pleas needed to stop lest there be a ‘floodgate’ of litigation.

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