NEW DELHI: Don’t behave like Vijay Mallya, Delhi High Court on Wednesday told controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi and directed him to return to India by mid-November and appear before the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in a money laundering case against him.
“Do not behave in a fashion Vijay Mallya did,” Justice A K Pathak said as he turned down a plea of Qureshi, who is in Dubai, for interim protection from arrest or any coercive action by the agency for 15 days. “Don’t take the line of businessman Vijay Mallya. You have to first appear for questioning. You are not in India. This shows that you do not want to appear. First you return to the country and join the questioning,” the court said, adding it was “not inclined to grant any interim order”.
It further said it was not going to restrain the agency from taking any “coercive steps” against Qureshi, who had recently managed to go abroad despite a Lookout Circular (LC) issued against him by the ED.
The court, however, stayed till November 16 the LC issued against Qureshi by ED to detain him at the entry-exit points in India and directed him to appear before the agency on November 22.
The High Court’s direction came on Qureshi’s plea, filed through his daughter Sylvia Qureshi, in which he has sought a restraint on the law enforcement agency from arresting or taking any coercive action once he joins the investigation. Qureshi’s counsel R K Handoo also urged that he should be protected for at least 15 days, otherwise great prejudice would be caused to his client.
“I will straightway come to your (ED) office after landing in India,” Handoo said, adding that “Qureshi was subjected to extreme humiliation and ridicule in India and abroad, portraying him as an absconder, who is evading the law and government agencies and has allegedly given the slip to the authorities by leaving the country on October 15.”
On being stopped at IGI Airport on October 15, following issuance of the LC, Qureshi had left for Dubai after showing a trial court order obtained in an income tax case in which he was granted bail.
In a related development, the ED has issued summons to Qureshi and his wife to appear before the agency next week in the money laundering case. The agency officials alleged that Qureshi had spent crores of rupees while shopping in other countries. For these purchases, the money was allegedly paid by different companies in the respective countries. The agency believes that this money was routed through hawalas. Qureshi has been told to report to the investigating officer in connection with the criminal case registered against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.