NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to former telecom minister A Raja and others on a petition filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking an early hearing of its appeals against their acquittal in the 2G case.
A single-judge bench of Justice Brijesh Sethi asked the respondents Raja and others to file their replies on the plea seeking an early hearing of ED's appeal and listed the matter for further hearing on September 21.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, representing the ED, apprised the court that the due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the matter was not heard after January 15, the day when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) concluded its argument.
Jain said that the appeal to be heard expeditiously as Justice Sethi will demit the office on November 30 and further added that if it will be heard afresh by another bench it will cost too much to the public exchequer.
Meanwhile, the High Court reserved order on the pleas filed by two companies seeking to release its properties attached by the agency.
One of the pleas was filed by Conwood Construction and Developers (P) Ltd, an accused in the 2G Prevention of Money Laundering case, seeking release of the properties attached by the ED by furnishing indemnity bond.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing on behalf of the CCDPL, submitted that the ED is not looking after the properties post its attachment and it has not paid property tax and other statutory dues which is leading diminishing the value of the properties.
He argued that the ED is in a position of a 'bailee' and it is bound to take all the necessary steps and actions to ensure that the 'value' of the property attached does not get reduced, however, the agency has completely failed to perform its duties.
Aggarwal cited various precedents where properties attached by the ED have been released upon furnishing an indemnity bond. However, Jain opposed his plea calling it an abuse of process of the law and urged the court either to dismiss it or keep it in abeyance.
A petition has also been filed against the agency's appeal challenging the acquittal of the accused claiming that the appeal it is now 'infructuous' due to the 2018 amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act. The petition was filed by RK Chandolia, one of the accused in the 2G spectrum case and then private secretary of former telecom minister A Raja.
Notably, the CBI and ED had moved the Delhi High Court in March 2018 against the acquittal of all accused in the 2G spectrum case which came to light in 2017.
In December 2017, a Special CBI Court had acquitted DMK politicians A Raja, Kanimozhi, and fifteen others, implicated in the 2G spectrum case.