CHENNAI: A vacation bench of Madras High Court has stayed the operation of an interim order passed by the Appellate Tribunal, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), in New Delhi, favouring textile baron ‘Pothys’.
The bench of Justices R Mahadevan and M Govindaraj granted the injunction on a batch of appeals from the Enforcement Directorate, on May 18.
The matter relates to purchase of a property by Pothys for construction of a textile show room in Kanchipuram in February 2016, from one Dhanalakshmi Sridhar for Rs 5,30,74,500. Her father, Sridhar Dhanapal, was facing various criminal proceedings, under the PMLA as well. The property in question was attached by the PMLA authorities and the provisional attachment order passed by the ED was also confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority..
Challenging this, S Ramesh Pothy and his brothers moved the Appellate Tribunal, contending that if the property was attached and the ED took possession of it, they might face huge monetary loss besides losing their reputation. And the Tribunal on February 21 last directed Pothys to deposit 50 per cent of the sale amount (Rs 5.30 crore) to the account of the ED Deputy Director in Chennai and use the property for passage alone.
Challenging this, ED Deputy Director N Ananthie moved Madras HC, contending that the Tribunal had failed to consider that the purchaser of the property, instead of making payment to Dhanalakshmi remitted the sale consideration from Pothys into the bank account of Sridhar’s wife Kumari residing in Dubai and who is not a party. This would clearly prove that the transaction involved money laundering and sought the HC to quash the Tribunal’s interim order.