The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) not to take any coercive action for two weeks against former Maharashtra minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Hasan Mushrif in a money laundering case lodged against him by the central probe agency.
The HC asked him to approach a sessions court with an anticipatory bail application during this period.
Mushrif had approached the High Court seeking to quash the case registered against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the ED.
A bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Sharmila Deshmukh, hearing his plea, directed the financial investigation agency not to take any coercive action against Mushrif for two weeks.
The MLA from Kolhapur's Kagal Assembly constituency had served as the rural development minister in the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
The ED had claimed suspicious flow of several crore of rupees from two companies “without having substantial business” to Sar Senapati Santaji Ghorpade Sugar Factory Ltd, where Mushrif's sons Navid, Aabid and Sajid are directors or stakeholders.
The former minister, in his HC petition, claimed he is being targeted by his political rivals led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kirit Somaiya.
The NCP leader's plea sought to quash the ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report) registered by the ED alleging it was “nothing but a result of a motivated conspiracy indicating clear mala fides so as to negatively affect the ever-rising political career of the petitioner”.
Generally an ECIR is registered on the basis of a criminal case registered by the police, CBI or any other agency.
The plea alleged the ED's real intention was to target Mushrif and, therefore, despite having no case the central agency was trying to arrest him possibly at the behest of Somaiya.
“It is common knowledge as to how in recent times the office of Enforcement Directorate is used to wreck political vengeance and either severely damage or completely destroy political careers,” the plea alleged.
-With PTI Input