The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday came under serious flak from the Supreme Court that took strong exception to the agency keeping the court in dark about filing its chargesheet against Pune-based stud farm owner Hasan Ali (53) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
A shocked bench of justice B Sudershan Reddy and justice SS Nijjar expressed its reservations to solicitor general (SG) Gopal Subramanium and asked him why it wasn't informed about the move on May 4 when the agency filed a status report before the court. The sealed cover report did not mention about the agency’s move to file the chargesheet, even as the ED submitted it to a special Mumbai court two days later.
The bench also asked the special court in Mumbai to keep ED's chargesheet on hold till it issues further orders. It was even more surprised to learn that the government constituted high-level committee (HLC) too did not scan the chargesheet.
The HLC was set up by the government to pre-empt the SC from constituting a special investigating team (SIT) to monitor the probe in the case.
The apex court's constant prodding prompted Subramanium to admit the mistake. SG, however, informed the court that ED would file a supplementary chargesheet in the case, as it was an on-going investigation. The court posted the matter for directions on July 4.
The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by senior advocate Ram Jethmalani who has sought a direction to the government to retrieve the black money stashed in foreign countries.
“Why is it that we were not informed that investigation is complete against that man (Hasan Ali)? In your status report you had said that investigation was still going on. But, two days later we read it in newspapers,” the bench said, while directing ED to give a copy of the over 900-page chargesheet to the petitioner.