New Delhi [India], Aug 19 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday enquired from Pacific Capital Services Private Limited, a firm owned by former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar's husband Deepak Kochhar, in which court it wants to push for the plea seeking release of its assets seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The query came after the Delhi High Court was informed by the ED that a similar petition has already been moved before the Bombay High Court.
A single-judge bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bambani then granted more time to the firm for deciding their stand as to whether they want to push the plea here before the Delhi High Court or before the Bombay High Court and slated the matter for further hearing on August 25.
The plea filed by Kochhar's firm through advocate Vijay Aggarwal sought the release of seized documents and cash which were seized by the ED under Section 17 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
"As per amended Section 8(3)(a) PMLA the seizure of a property can only continue for a period of 365 days from the confirmation of the seizure by ED however, even after the lapse of the said period no Complaint in terms of Section 45 PMLA has been filed by the Enforcement Directorate in the present case," the plea said.
It said that earlier there was no time limit prescribed under the PMLA for completion of investigation, however, the situation changed by virtue of amendment which was carried on April 19, 2018, wherein the specific period of 90 days was prescribed in the Act for the purpose of investigation which was subsequently increased to 365 days.
"The mandate of the law now is that the retention shall continue during investigation for a period not exceeding 365 days, as provided under section 8(3)(a) of the PMLA," it added.
It also said that Kochchar's firm is entitled to benefit of time period cap prescribed by Section 8 (3)(a) of PMLA and the seizure must cease to exist by operation of law and the documents/ cash/ electronics seized by the ED from the premises of the company is liable to be released.
The travesity of justice is clear from the fact that after exercising powers under Section 17 PMLA to seize the cash of 10.5 Lakhs, ED invoked powers under Section 5 of the PMLA stating that there are "reasons to believe" that properties mentioned in schedule is likely to be transferred or dealt with in any manner which may result in frustrating any proceedings relating to confiscation of such proceeds of crime, if not attached immediately, the plea said. (ANI)