Court asks ED to prosecute 70 defaulters
MUMBAI: The sessions court has asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to prosecute 70 people accused of foreign exchange violations and returned their cases to a magistrate court.
The magistrate court had earlier dismissed the cases against the 70 after the ED failed to take action against them.
The sessions court judge, HS Mahajan, held that the magistrate erred in dismissing the cases.
The cases, from 1998 to 2003, are against violators who failed to pay penalties worth crores — imposed on them for the irregular transfer of money out of India — even after several reminders.
While the central agency attempted to trace the accused, the magistrate court dismissed several of these complaints in December 2009, observing that the ED failed to serve the accused summons.
However, ED sources said it was difficult to pursue such cases as it was hard to trace the defaulters with their limited manpower.
The agency said it had taken steps to serve summons but failed for want of correct addresses.
The agency said these complaints were dismissed under a special drive organised by the Bombay high court.
The drive was initiated to dispose of stale and ineffective cases to reduce number of cases pending in courts.
The ED moved the sessions court in 2012, asking it to restore these cases after a lapse of three years.
The ED said the magistrate ought to have considered that the economic offences and discharging the opponents affects national interest.
The agency said the dismissal of these complaints was illegal as the magistrate has no power to dismiss private complaints.