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HC restrains ED from taking any action pursuant to attachment of Amnesty International India's funds

ANI | Updated: Oct 26, 2021 20:41 IST

New Delhi [India], October 26 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed to maintain the status quo till Amnesty International India's appeal against the attachment order is taken by the Appellate Tribunal, currently which is not functional.
Justice Rekha Palli directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to restrain from taking action pursuant to the attachment of Amnesty International India's funds in connection with a money laundering case.
Justice Rekha Palli also clarified that this order will merge with any order passed by the Appellate Tribunal.
Amnesty International India has urged Delhi HC for granting a stay on the operation of the order dated August 6, 2021, issued by the Adjudicating Authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 confirming attachment of the Fixed Deposits of the company.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a First Information Report (FIR) dated November 5, 2019, under Sections 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 read with Sections 11, 35 and 39 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 against four entities, namely Amnesty International India Private Limited, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust, Indians for Amnesty International Trust and Amnesty International South Asia Foundation.

Later, ED registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) against the four entities named in the said FIR.
The petitioner told the court that pursuant to the said ECIR, the respondent ED illegally and without jurisdiction and without any statutory power, issued the illegal and untenable notices, directions dated August 25, 2020, August 26, 2020, September 9, 2020, and September 10, 2020, freezing various bank accounts of inter alia the petitioner, including those which are the subject matter of the instant proceedings.
Petitioner has moved Appellate Tribunal seeking an interim stay on the operation of the ED from taking possession of the money in its attached account.
The petitioner told the court due to the expiry of the tenure of acting Chairman of the Appellate Tribunal, resulting in non-availability of a Coram, all matters listed before the Appellate Tribunal are since being re-notified en bloc to other dates. Moreover, to date, the Government of India has not issued any notification for the appointment of a Chairman or members of the appellate Tribunal and in such a scenario, the functioning of the Appellate Tribunal is likely to remain suspended for an indefinite period of time.
On account of the continued absence of a Coram of Appellate Tribunal, the Petitioner's application dated October 25, 2021, will be rendered infructuous if the same is not decided by a competent Court, and the Respondent ED may transfer the funds out of the attached account.
Therefore, in absence of a Coram of the Appellate Tribunal, the Petitioner approach this Delhi High Court for a stay on the operation of the impugned order. (ANI)