CHENNAI: The Madras High Court court on Friday dismissed a batch of pleas moved by Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited, that challenged the freezing of its bank accounts by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case. Former union minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram was a former director of the company.
Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana while rejecting the pleas said the petitioner cannot approach the High Court without exhausting the other available alternative remedies. “The complaint filed under Section 5(5) of PMLA had been adjudicated upon and the order has been confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority. Thus, the petitioner has to challenge the order of the Adjudicating Authority before the Appellate Tribunal in accordance with the law and these writ petitions have no merit,” the judge said.
The issue relates to Enforcement Directorate attaching assets worth Rs 54 crore of Karti Chidambaram in India, UK and Spain in connection with INX Media money laundering case. Fixed deposits of Rs 90 lakh, kept in a bank in the name of the company, have also been attached.
The directorate had earlier registered a money laundering case, after CBI registered an FIR, and alleged that misappropriation took place in FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was Union finance minister.
In its petition, the company submitted that ED had on September 24, 2018, directed branch managers of three banks not to allow any debit from the current accounts of the company without obtaining prior permission. Arguing that the ED’s directive was illegal, without the authority of law and arbitrary, it wanted the court to quash the order and permit the petitioner to operate the accounts.
The petitioner contended that ED had no jurisdiction to investigate the alleged offence under PMLA in relation to INX Media deal and hence the communication sent by the agency to the bankers for freezing its accounts was without authority of law.