HC stays ED order on property attachment

Telangana High Court on Wednesday stayed an order of the adjudicating authority confirming attachment of properties by Enforcement Directorate belonging to two traders from Hyderabad.

The direction was issued by a bench of Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice Chada Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy, after hearing two writ petitions filed by Mahesh Agarwal and Pranitha Agarwal from the city. In August 2021, the ED authorities attached some properties of the two petitioners in connection with a money laundering case registered against a businessman Sanjay Agarwal.

The ED officials contended that the assets attached by them were acquired by the petitioners through proceeds of the crime. Eventually, the adjudicating authority confirmed the order of the property attachment issued by the officials.

The petitioners moved the HC by filing writ petitions and challenged legality of the confirmation of attachment of assets. Their counsel pointed out that adjudicating authority was bound to reject or confirm within 180 days of the attachment of properties.

In the petitioners’ case, however, the order was confirmed after nearly 270 days. Moreover, the adjudicating authority did not specify the reasons as to why the petitioners’ contention that they had acquired the assets with their legally earned income was not accepted, the counsel argued.

Refuting their contention, the adjudicating authority claimed that the Supreme Court relaxed the conditions due to COVID-19 pandemic over passing orders. The bench, however, observed that the relaxation was meant for litigants and lawyers but not for the adjudicating authorities.

In a separate order, the bench instructed the State government to file status report within two weeks in a PIL petition over environmental pollution allegedly being caused by Divi’s laboratories at Choutuppal in Nalgonda district. Twelve years ago, the HC converted a letter written by farmers and others about the pollution being caused due to release of chemicals into a PIL plea.

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Printable version | Aug 25, 2022 6:47:45 pm |