Quash black money case in lower court, urges mining baron J Sekhar Reddy
CHENNAI: Mining baron J Sekhar Reddy has moved the Madras High Court to quash the criminal proceedings pending before the Principal Sessions Judge here. The case had been registered by the Enforcement Directorate for offences under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, in March last year.
The 50-year-old mining baron, from whose possession `34 crore in new denomination notes of `2,000 and gold worth several crores of rupees were seized in December 2016, was imprisoned and later released on bail in all cases in May. He submitted that though no offence was made out, ED, without following any due procedure of law and relying on the investigations done by other agencies, had filed the case before the Principal Sessions Court under the PML Act. The case is vitiated, illegal and void, he said.
Among other things, he contended that the complaint filed by the ED was without jurisdiction, premature and ultra vires under the provisions of the PMLA. The entire basis of the complaint is the FIR registered by the CBI based on the information by the Income Tax Department.
CBI is yet to either identify the involvement of the alleged bank officials or prima facie make out an offence or file a charge sheet for the allegations of conversion of the old currency notes. The ED has reproduced almost verbatim the contents of the CBI’s FIR in the complaint without any confirmation or disclosing reasons to believe based on materials on record that the petitioner has committed an offence.
The petitioner had not indulged in conversion of old currency notes into new currency notes; even otherwise it is not an offence declared under any law. To arrive at a prima facie conclusion that the petitioner had indulged in conversion of old currency notes to new ones with the help of the bank/bank officials, the only evidence would be the serialised notes. However, in the present case despite several verifications of the seized currency, there are no serialized notes at all, confirming that the money was lawful business income of the petitioner.
‘ED did not follow due process’
The mining baron said that ED acted without following any due procedure of law. He stated that the government agency relied on the investigations done by other agencies.