The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday asked Enforcement Directorate to file a status report in the recent money laundering case allegedly involving Chandigarh advocate Mukesh Mittal and his associates in 10 days.
The direction came from the bench of justice Rajive Bhalla. This case became a trigger point in the ED launching an aggressive probe into various real estate deals in the city.
The petitioner’s counsel contended that nothing incriminating had been discovered during the search conducted on his clients’ premises. He also submitted that their accounts had also been freezed by the ED, which changed its stand several times during the investigations.
“Government officers have been named in the case, but search had been carried out against all the lawyers,” he contended. At this, the HC cautioned the petitioner and asked him to confine himself to his case, as he was representing only Sawhney. “Go for fair probe, but order should not be misused,” the bench told the ED in the court.
A case of property grabbing came to the Chandigarh police regarding SCF No. 8, Sector 20 C, in 2009. The SCF originally belonged to Tara Singh, an NRI staying in the UK.
The ED took up the case as it involved large ramifications and started an investigation. The ED had also freezed the account of advocate GS Sawhney and his wife. Sawhney had allegedly got the power of attorney from Tara Singh in favour of his munshi Harnek Singh and was allegedly trying to sell the property without knowledge of the owner. But later, while investigating the case, the ED also raided residence of Mukesh Mittal on January 13.
Several property transactions through shell companies worth hundreds of crores in Chandigarh and its periphery are now under the scanner of the ED. The central investigating agency is probing money laundering in the property deals through shell companies.