ED has opposed the relief sought by Raghav Bahl in a money laundering case. However, the Delhi High Court granted "last opportunity" to the Enforcement Directorate to respond to a petition by media baron Raghav Bahl to quash a money laundering case against him, and refused to pass an order staying the investigation at this stage. Justice Jasmeet Singh said that the court would take up the petition as well as the application seeking interim relief on January 16.
The counsel for the ED informed the court that the high court denied any interim relief to the petitioner last December and even the Supreme Court refused to interfere, but the applicant is again seeking a stay on the investigation.
The petitioner cannot "ask this court, when they fail in special leave petition (before the top court), to sit on appeal against Allahabad High Court judgement that no scheduled offence is made out", the counsel said. The ED case against the petitioner arises from a complaint by the Income Tax (I-T) Department and concerns the alleged laundering of funds to purchase an undisclosed asset in London.
The counsel for the petitioner said that he was “not attacking scheduled offence” in the present case and that the Supreme Court did not grant relief in appeal only on the premise that the main petition and application were pending before the high court.
He emphasised that there has not been any adjudication on his plea for interim relief and the high court had earlier denied a direction of no coercive steps as an “ad interim ex parte” order. “We will take up your petition for hearing on 16 January but there is no question of ex parte ad-interim stay,” the judge said while giving the agency two weeks to respond.
The I-T Department had initiated proceedings against the petitioner under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act of 2015 for alleged irregularities in the returns filed for the assessment year (AY) 2018-2019.