PMLA case against Chhattisgarh IAS officer, son quashed

It pronounced the order after hearing a batch of writ petitions filed by six accused, including IAS officer Tuteja, his son and some other personnel.
Supreme Court of India in New Delhi.
Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. (File photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday quashed the money laundering case against former IAS officer Anil Tuteja and his son Yash Tuteja in the alleged Rs 2,000 crore liquor scam in Chhattisgarh, saying there were no proceeds of crime.

A two-judge bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan quashed the case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), after noting that since no ex-facie scheduled offence (main offence) exists against the accused, no offence was made out by the probe agency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

It pronounced the order after hearing a batch of writ petitions filed by six accused, including IAS officer Tuteja, his son and some other personnel. Monday’s court order has come as a major blow to the ED, which failed to gather evidence against the accused.

“As there is no scheduled offence, there cannot be any proceeds of crime as defined under clause 2(u) of the PMLA. If there is no proceeds of crime, the offence under PMLA is not made out,” the bench of the top court said in its order.

The court also made it clear that it was quashing the case, as the complaint and case filed by the ED, was based on an IT act offence, which is not a scheduled offence as per the PMLA. “There is no predicate offence, therefore there cannot be proceeds of crime,” the SC said in its order.

In its complaint the probe agency claimed that a person named A Tiwari was the mastermind behind the multi-crore liquor scam. The ED has named around 50 people, including the then excise minister Kawasi Lakhma, former IAS Vivek Dhandh, Congress leader Anwar Dehbar, IAS officer Anil Tuteja, his son Yash Tuteja and others.

The ED has in its complaint, alleged money laundering in the case in which it has named Anwar Dhebar — brother of Congress leader and Raipur Mayor Aijaz Dhebar; Managing Director of Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Limited (CSMCL) Arunpati Tripathi, liquor businessman Trilok Singh Dhillon, hotelier Nitesh Purohit and Arvind Singh as accused.

The probe agency maintained that the accused persons’ pleas for quashing of the case, could not be maintained, in view the 2022 apex court verdict which upheld the ED’s power to search, seize and arrest. Section 50 gives ED the power to summon people.

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