Mehbooba Mufti moves Delhi HC challenging ED summons issued in money laundering case

Mehbooba Mufti moves Delhi HC challenging ED summons issued in money laundering case

New Delhi:  Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of summons issued to her by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for March 15 in a money laundering case.

The 61-year-old PDP leader, who was released last year after more than a year in detention following the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, has been served notice to appear at the ED headquarters in the national capital.

The petition is likely to be listed for hearing on Wednesday before a bench headed by Chief Justice D N Patel.

Besides, she has also sought to declare section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act as void and inoperative, being unfairly discriminatory, bereft of safeguards, and violative of Article 20(3) of the Constitution.

Section 50 of the Act gives powers to authorities regarding summons, production of documents and to give evidence.

Mufti has also sought an interim stay on the summons until the question of law in relation to constitutionality of Section 50 of the Act is decided.

She has not been informed if she is being summoned as an accused or as a witness. She has also not been informed of what she is being summoned in connection with and the scheduled offence under the PMLA which gave rise to the proceedings in respect of which impugned summons has been issued to her. The petitioner is not the subject of investigation, nor is she an accused, in any of the scheduled offences to the best of her knowledge, the plea said.

The plea claimed that ever since Mufti was released from the preventive detention following the formal abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, there have been a series of hostile acts by the State, against her, acquaintances and old family friends, who have all been summoned by the ED and a roving inquiry about her personal, political and financial affairs was made, in the course of which their personal devices have been seized.

She has also written a letter to the ED pointing to the roving nature of the inquiry undertaken in the case thus far and that in the event that she is questioned, she will insist on the legitimacy of the process, it said.

As a responsible member of society, the petitioner is always ready and willing to aid the process of law. However, it is equally her duty to bring to the notice of this court, deviations from due process in legislative and executive acts. The petitioner apprehends that the impugned notice is a means of bringing undue pressure and harassment upon her and therefore, the petitioner wishes to assert her constitutional rights in this regard, the petition said.

After receiving the ED summons, Mufti had said the Centre’s “tactics to intimidate and browbeat political opponents” won’t work.

“GOI’s tactics to intimidate & browbeat political opponents to make them toe their line has become tediously predictable. They don’t want us to raise questions about its punitive actions & policies. Such short-sighted scheming won’t work,” she had wrote on Twitter, without any mention of the ED notice.

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