NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today refused to grant any interim protection to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's two children, who have challenged the Enforcement Directorate's provisional attachment of some of their assets in a money laundering case.
"We will give them (ED, Ministry of Finance) an opportunity to file response and then we will see if there is a need to protect you, if any. We don't see any urgency to pass any interim order now," a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said.
The bench, meanwhile, issued notices to the ED and Centre on the plea filed by Virbhadra's daughter Aprajita Kumari and son Vikramaditya Singh, who have also sought stay on the March 23 provisional attachment order (PAO) of ED, saying it has "exceeded its jurisdiction".
During the hearing, senior advocate Amit Sibal, who appeared for the petitioners, requested the court to stay the further proceedings in the matter but the bench said that it will go through the response filed by the Centre and will then hear the matter.
When the bench posted the matter for April 18, Sibal said, "Before April 18 I must be protected. The ED may commence proceedings within a period of 30 days from the provisional attachment order of March 23." To this, the bench said, "You are challenging the constitutional validity. They (ED and Centre) will be given an opportunity to file their response."
The petitioners have also challenged the recently amended second proviso of section 5(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), saying it be declared unconstitutional, claiming it was contradictory to the scheme of the Act and violated the Constitution. The second proviso of section 5(1) of PMLA provides that any property of a person may be attached if ED's officer concerned has reasons to believe, on the basis of material in his possession, that if such property allegedly involved in money-laundering is not attached immediately, it is likely to frustrate any proceeding under the Act.