New Delhi [India], March 10 (ANI): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday sought time to file a reply to a plea by PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti challenging a summon by the agency and informed the Delhi High Court that it would not insist for her appearance on March 15.
After taking on record the submissions of ED counsel Amit Mahajan, the bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani adjourned the matter for March 19. The matter was earlier on Wednesday listed before the bench of the Chief Justice but later transferred to another bench as the chief justice bench didn't assemble.
Mufti has approached Delhi High Court against the summon asking her to appear before ED on March 15 in connection with a money laundering case.
Mufti has also challenged constitutional vires of Section 50, and any incidental provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
After receiving the notice of summon, Mufti had also tweeted on March 5, saying: "GOIs tactics to intimidate & browbeat political opponents to make them toe their line has become tediously predictable. They don't want us to raise questions about its punitive actions & policies. Such short-sighted scheming won't work".
Section 50 of the PMLA empowers the 'authority' i.e., officers of the Enforcement Directorate, to summon any person to give evidence or produce records. All persons summoned are bound to answer questions put to them, and to produce the documents as required by the ED officers, failing which they can be penalised under the PMLA.
Mufti's petition states that she has not been informed if she is being summoned as an accused or as a witness. She has also not been informed of what she is being summoned in connection with, and the scheduled offence under the PMLA which gave rise to the proceedings in respect of which summons has been issued to her.
The plea added that Mufti is not the subject of investigation, nor is she an accused, in any of the scheduled offences under the PMLA, to the best of her knowledge.
Ever since Mufti was released from preventive detention following the formal abrogation of Article 370, there have been a series of "hostile acts", against her acquaintances and old family friends, who have all been summoned by the ED and a roving inquiry about her personal, political and financial affairs was made, in the course of which their personal devices have been seized.
The petitioner also wrote a letter to the ED, inter alia, pointing to the roving nature of the inquiry undertaken in the case thus far and that in the event that she is questioned, she will insist on the legitimacy of the process.
Mufti also stated that: "As a responsible member of society, the petitioner is always ready and willing to aid the process of law. However, it is equally her duty to bring to the notice of this court, deviations from due process in legislative and executive acts." (ANI)