The Madras High Court has rejected a petition by a city based-businessman, challenging the Union Finance Ministry’s detention order against him 23 years ago.

The court said he had played ‘hide and seek game’ to escape from the clutches of the law enforcing authorities.

On March 14, 1990, Joint Secretary to Union Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue, issued the order against Virendra Mehta of Vepery under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA) 1974 and also directed Mehta to be detained and kept in custody in the Central Prison, Chennai.

In 1990, Mehta challenged the detention order before the Calcutta High Court which had dismissed his case. Even thereafter, he did not surrender himself before the authorities to undergo the detention.

He was not available at his ordinary place of residence. Several steps taken by the authorities to execute the detention order could not succeed for all these years. His wife, who claimed that her husband was falsely implicated in the case, had sent several representations to the Union Finance Minister for revoking the order.

Challenging the detention order before the Madras High Court recently, the 72-year-old Mehta sought the court to restrain the authorities from arresting him.

He contended that the authorities did not execute the detention order for about 23 years, though they were well aware of his residential address and that he was very much available for them to execute the detention order.

He also contended that he was appearing before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore, where a case was pending against him.