HC to ED: Return assets seized under PMLA probe if no charge sheet after a year | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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HC to ED: Return assets seized under PMLA probe if no charge sheet after a year

Feb 03, 2024 07:18 AM IST

In an order, Justice Navin Chawla said the continuation of a seizure beyond 365 days, in the absence of the pendency of any proceedings, will be confiscatory in nature and violative of the right to property (Article 300A of the Constitution).

The Delhi high court has said that the assets seized in connection with a money laundering case must be returned if the investigation continues beyond 365 days and does not result in any charge sheet as it directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED)to return the property it seized from a man more than three years ago.

The Delhi high court has said that the assets seized in connection with a money laundering case must be returned if the investigation continues beyond 365 days.
The Delhi high court has said that the assets seized in connection with a money laundering case must be returned if the investigation continues beyond 365 days.

In an order, Justice Navin Chawla said the continuation of a seizure beyond 365 days, in the absence of the pendency of any proceedings, will be confiscatory in nature and violative of the right to property (Article 300A of the Constitution).

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“The natural consequence of the investigation for a period beyond 365 days not resulting in any proceedings relating to any offence under the Act, in terms of section 8(3) of the (Prevention of Money Laundering) Act, is that such seizure lapses and the property so seized must be returned to the person from whom it was so seized,” the court said.

The court’s decision came on a petition filed by Mahender Kumar Khandelwal, the former resolution professional of Bhushan Power and Steel Limited (BPSL) against the continued seizure of various documents, records, digital devices and gold and diamond jewellery worth 85 lakh by the central agency since 2020.

“The respondents (ED) are directed to return the documents, digital devices, property and other material seized from the petitioner pursuant to the search-and-seizure operation conducted on August 19 and 20, 2020 forthwith to the petitioner, subject to any order to the contrary passed by any competent court,” it ordered.

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