New Delhi: The Delhi High Court, Monday, refused to stay the attachment proceedings being carried out by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife against with regard to some of their assets.
Virbhadra Singh and Pratibha Singh had sought a stay on the provisional attachment order (PAO) of March 23 and the proceedings against them under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the couple, had argued that his clients had given an undertaking not to deal in the properties which have been provisionally attached by ED and, therefore, there should have been no apprehension in the minds of the agency that those assets would be disposed of.
He also contended no provisional orders could be passed against them as no charge sheet has been filed in the CBI case against them and the matter involving their income tax returns was pending in the Supreme Court.
He said the basis of passing PAO under PMLA are the Income Tax department's inquiries and investigation "which are under challenge and are not conclusive of any allegation" made against them.
He also said that ED has no material and has disclosed no reasons to believe that the petitioners would dispose of the provisionally attached assets.
He said the court had stayed further proceedings in the PMLA case against Virbhadra's son and daughter pursuant to provisional attachment of some of their assets and sought a similar order in the instant case.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for ED, argued that the stay order in favour of Virbhadra's children was passed as they were not named in the FIR under PMLA, while the couple has been.
The ASG further contended that ED cannot stop acting on the basis of an undertaking as then everyone in such cases would start filing undertakings.
With PTI inputs