Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court Friday
directed the Enforcement Directorate to investigate charges of money laundering against Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, saying that the probe should commence within two weeks.
The court gave the direction while dismissing a
petition filed by the former Samajwadi Party general secretary who had challenged an FIR lodged in Kanpur nearly two years ago accusing him of various financial irregularities when the party was in power in Uttar Pradesh.
A division bench comprising justices Imtiyaz Murtaza
and S S Tiwari asked the ED to commence the investigation
"within two weeks" and submit a status report before the court
within a month of the commencement of the probe.
Singh had moved the court challenging an FIR lodged at
Babupurwa Police Station in Kanpur on October 15, 2009 by a
local resident Shiv Kant Tripathi under various sections of
the IPC, the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Money Laundering Act.
Tripathi had also moved the court with the prayer that
the issue be probed by the ED.
The petitions by Singh and Tripathi were clubbed
together and heard by the bench which had reserved its
judgement on March 28.
Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who had argued on behalf
of Singh, had described the FIR lodged against his client as
"clearly an act of malice and fraud" aimed at "settling
political scores" and, hence, was "liable to be quashed".
However, the court said it found "no substance in the
submissions that the proceeding is liable to be quashed on
grounds of malafide and political rivalries".
The court took a serious note of the allegation made
by the petitioner that Singh, when the Samajwadi Party was in
power in UP and he was the Chairman of the UP Development
Council - a post equivalent to that of a cabinet minister -
"had indulged in money laundering business by creating a web
of shell companies".
"Money laundering poses a serious threat to financial
system integrity. It may emerge as a parallel economic system
within a country controlled by a few. This may destabilise and
perish a sound economy", it said.
"We are of the firm view that it is a pre-eminently
fit case for exercise of extra-ordinary power and the matter
needs thorough probe by Special Cell as the matter has
national ramifications", the court said.
Taking note of the fact that "the companies which are
alleged to be shell companies are registered in various
states", the court held "the ED being a central agency shall
be the appropriate cell capable of carrying out a thorough
"It is, therefore, directed that the entire papers
relating to this matter shall be entrusted to the ED within
two weeks and immediately after receipt of the papers the ED
shall commence investigation. The first status report shall be
submitted by the ED within one month after receipt of papers",
the court said.
"List this matter in the first week of July on which
date the authorities that be shall appear in person and shall
submit the first status report", the order said.