How Karti ‘abused’ the law, made pieces in a maze to fall into place – Press24 News


NEW DELHI: In their appeal in the Supreme Court challenging a Delhi high court decision to grant interim relief to Karti Chidambaram in a Prevention of Money Laundering Act case, the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have detailed the “gross abuse of process of law” and how pieces in a maze were made to fall into place, setting the stage for relief.

The probe agencies said much before Karti moved the SC with a writ petition questioning the ED’s power to summon and arrest, another petition had raised similar issues before the Delhi HC, in which a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta had on February 19 granted bail to a person booked under PMLA and referred the issue to a larger bench, despite the fact that three HCs, including Delhi HC, had earlier ruled that the ED had the power to arrest.

Sensing relief, Karti immediately moved an application in the SC seeking stay on PMLA proceedings against him. When the court refused to grant relief on an interim application, Karti withdrew it to file a writ petition.

On March 6, the SC issued notice on Karti’s writ petition. On March 7, the Delhi HC took up a petition filed by Firestar Diamonds, belonging to Nirav Modi, challenging the ED’s power to arrest and seize assets. The HC issued notice and posted it for hearing on March 19.

On March 8, faced with stiff opposition from the CBI and the ED through additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, the SC acceded to Karti’s request to permit him to move the HC, which had given relief to some other similarly placed persons facing proceedings under PMLA.

Within hours of the SC’s permission to move the HC, Karti filed a 70-page petition annexing 335 pages of documents, with prayers completely different from what was pleaded before the SC. “Karti raised all contentions which Nirav Modi’s group companies raised and like Firestar Diamonds International Pvt Ltd, he also challenged the constitutional validity of Section 19 of PMLA,” the probe agencies said. “It was given to understand to the probe agencies and the SC that the very same prayers were being prayed by way of a petition before the HC,” it said.

If Karti had informed the SC that the prayer would be to challenge the ED’s power to arrest, the agencies would have insisted on the SC deciding the issue because of the reference made by the Delhi HC to a larger bench of an issue already settled by three HCs, the CBI and ED said, and accused Karti of abusing the process of law.

On March 9, the HC restrained the ED from arresting Karti and posted the matter for hearing on March 20. However, as per the February 19 order of the HC referring the issue to a larger bench, the HC has constituted a larger bench comprising Justices Muralidhar, Mehta and Mukta Gupta, which is scheduled to reconsider the settled issue on ED’s power to arrest on March 16. The probe agencies’ appeal in the SC is scheduled for hearing on Thursday before a bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra.

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