Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Friday rejected the petition of Rs 700 crore hawala racket accused Afroz Fatta and his sister Fozia Godil, challenging ED`s action against them and demanding to quash procedure under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
"The petition is rejected as the action of Enforcement Directorate (ED) is reasonable as per the jurisdiction," Justice GR Udhvani said.
The court has also said the accused are free to approach the ED authorities as per section 8 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Section 8 stands for the right of a person to approach the authority against whom action has been initiated under the PMLA.
A Surat-based trader Afroz Fatta and his sister Fozia Godil had challenged the summons and the procedure of ED and stated that "the procedure adopted by ED has been lacking a legal sustainability."
The Enforcement Directorate had on March 21 busted a `hawala` racket running into Rs 700 crore during their search operations in Surat-based offices of some diamond traders.
ED officials had also questioned suspected traders, including Afroz Fataa and Madanlal Jain, who were allegedly found involved in the hawala racket to sending Rs 700 crore outside India. It is alleged that instead of importing diamonds, the duo made bogus import bills, claiming that they have purchased the diamonds from a foreign trader.
Using these bills, it is alleged that the duo used to transfer money through their bank accounts. Thus, money went outside without a single diamond imported in India.
The hawala scam turned into a political fight, when Congress released a CD, purportedly showing photo of BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi with Afroz Fatta and dared him to submit himself to an independent probe.
The Congress CD came a day after the BJP released a video CD targeting Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi and husband of Priyanka Gandhi, over his alleged land deals. Congress has already dismissed the charges as trash.
BJP had then sent a legal notice to Congress party`s secretary, Union Minister Kapil Sibal and spokesperson Randip Surjewala for allegedly tarnishing the image of the saffron party and their PM nominee Narendra Modi.