No coercive action against Newsclick and its editor till July 5, ED told

Not given copy of Enforcement Case Information Report, petitioners tell Delhi HC

June 27, 2021 07:48 pm | Updated 07:48 pm IST - New Delhi

Photo: Twitter/@newsclickin

Photo: Twitter/@newsclickin

The Delhi High Court has ordered the Enforcement Directorate (ED) not to take any coercive action against news portal Newsclick and its editor Prabir Purkayastha until July 5 in an alleged money-laundering case.

Justice Jasmeet Singh gave the direction while issuing notices to the investigating agency on Newsclick and Mr. Purkayastha’s plea seeking a copy of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered against them.

Newsclick and Mr. Purkayastha contended that in February 2021, several search and seizure operations were carried out by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at their office and residence.

During the operation, Mr. Purkayastha was informed that an ECIR has been registered by the ED for commission of offence under the PMLA, pursuant to which the searches were carried out.

Mr. Purkayastha said the ED has been continuing its investigation for over four months and as and when officials of the Newsclick and himself have been summoned, they have rendered full cooperation and joined the investigation from time to time.

The plea said he has not been supplied the copy of the ECIR, despite requests. It submitted that the ED has been providing the ECIRs in some cases as per their “pick-and-choose policy”.

ED’s counsel Amit Mahajan said there is no concept of an ECIR under the PMLA, 2002. Mr. Mahajan submitted that Mr. Purkayastha is seeking to circumvent the provisions of the Cr.P.C. and the only remedy available to him is to file an application for a grant of anticipatory bail in case he apprehends arrest.

Justice Singh, while relying on the ruling the Supreme Court order, directed “that till the next date of hearing no coercive action shall be taken against the petitioners [Newsclick and Mr. Purkayastha]”.

The High Court also issued notice to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi police on Newsclick’s plea seeking to quash an FIR registered in August last year against it.

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