BENGALURU:Declining to interfere in the proceedings initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at this stage, the High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd.
While dismissing the petition challenging the February 27 order passed by ED for provisional attachment of mutual funds and bank accounts and showcause notice dated February 20, Justice B S Patil said that as the adjudication process has not yet started and the matter is at the stage of show-cause notice and provisional attachment, the court will not interfere if alternative remedy is available before an appellate authority. The judge said Devas is not justified in rushing to court at this stage.
The judge also felt that the provisional attachment is preemptive in nature. It could always be open for persons to place such materials as would convince the authorities that the property has nothing to do with money laundering. The argument that action initiated retrospectively cannot be accepted, the judge noted.
The question whether the petitioner was involved in money laundering, as provided under Section 3 of PMLA, has to be decided by the competent authority. A mechanism is provided under the Act for redressal of grievances at different stages -- an adjudicating authority and an appellate authority. Only after approaching the appellate authority can persons approach the court under Section 42 of PMLA, the judge said.
Another petition of Devas and two others challenging the ED’s proceedings initiated under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) was also dismissed by Justice B S Patil. Besides Devas, D Venugopal and M Umesh, who were directors of Devas also challenged the proceedings, and one of them contended that he had resigned as director prior to approval by FIDB. They challenged the complaint dated May 31, 2016 and show-cause notice dated June 6, 2016 issued by ED.The proceedings were initiated as Devas appears to have received foreign investment equivalent to `578,53,63,207, between 2006 and 2010, without approval from Government of India.