Accounts attachment: HC restrains ED from further action against Amnesty

A view of the Delhi High Court   | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Enforcement Directorate not to take any further action pursuant to the attachment of Amnesty International India’s funds in connection with a money-laundering case.

Justice Rekha Palli gave the direction while hearing a petition by Amnesty International India seeking to prevent the transfer of its funds to the tune of ₹14.23 crore attached to its accounts.

Justice Palli directed that a status quo shall be maintained until the organisation’s appeal against the confirmation of the concerned attachment order is taken by the Appellate Tribunal which is not functional.

Similar directions were passed by same bench on Tuesday on a petition against the confirmation of a similar provisional attachment order passed against “Indians For Amnesty International Trust”.

The two organisations have sought a stay on the operation of August 6, 2021 order issued by the Adjudicating Authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act confirming attachment of their accounts.

It said based on a purported June 2019 complaint from the Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division), the CBI registered a First Information Report under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC read various section of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

The FIR was registered against four entities — Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd., Amnesty International India Foundation Trust, Indians for Amnesty International Trust and Amnesty International South Asia Foundation.

On the basis of the FIR, the ED registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) on November 28, 2019 against all four entities. The ED, then, went on to freeze various bank accounts of the organisations.

On August 6, 2021 the Adjudicating Authority issued the order confirming the attachment of the subject property. Aggrieved by the findings, the organisation moved an appeal before the Appellate Tribunal, PMLA, on October 25, 2021.

However, on account of the expiry of tenure of the last Acting Chairman of the Appellate Tribunal, no hearings are being conducted since April 1, 2021, prompting the organisation to move the High Court.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 11:00:32 PM |

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