Madras HC issues Notice to ED on plea for action in Rs 3.99 cr seizure case

The Madras High Court issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a plea to take action under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 in a case involving the seizure of Rs 3.99 crore from passengers at Tambaram railway station on April 7.

It also sent a notice to the ED to take action in another case related to the seizure of Rs 28.5 lakh from DMK’s Tirunelveli East District secretary’s office on April 4.

Madras High Court division bench comprising Justices M.S. Ramesh and Sunder Mohan directed the Special Public Prosecutor of ED, N. Ramesh, to take notice and to obtain instructions by April 24.

The judge, however, recorded that prima facie there did not appear to be any reason for invoking the PMLA since the offences mentioned in the FIR registered by the local police were not scheduled offences under the Act.

The division bench pointed out that the FIR regarding the seizure of Rs 3.99 crore had been registered under Sections 171C, 171E and 171F (all related to bribery and undue influence in elections) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.

The ED special prosecutor then informed the court that Section 171 was not a scheduled offence under PMLA. However, the special prosecutor said that he has sought time to get detailed instructions from the ED.

C.M. Raghavan, an independent candidate who contested for the Tirunelveli Parliamentary constituency, had filed the writ petition seeking a direction to the ED to consider a representation made by him on April 7.

He said that in the representation he had sought for invoking the PMLA against BJP candidate Nainar Nagendran and Congress candidate C. Robert Bruce on the ground that the seized money was meant for distribution to voters.

The counsel for the petition, A. Immanuel, told the court that the three train passengers who were carrying Rs 3.99 crore from Chennai to Tirunelveli, were found to be close associates of the BJP candidate of the Tirunelveli constituency.

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In the same vein, he contended that the Rs 28.5 lakh seized from a DMK office-bearer was actually meant to be used to bribe voters in favour of the Congress candidate in the Tirunelveli constituency.

The counsel of the petitioner, Immanuel, insisted that both the candidates must be proceeded against under the PMLA.

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