The Delhi high court on Monday refused to stay the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attachment proceedings against Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh.
The court, however, said the final order of the adjudicating authority would not be given effect to while their pleas challenging provisional attachment are pending.
A bench of chief justice G Rohini and justice Jayant Nath passed the order on Virbhadra and his wife Pratibha Singh’s application seeking stay on the provisional attachment order (PAO) of March 23 and the proceedings against them under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The bench, which disposed off their application, however, said that any final order passed by the adjudicating authority in the attachment proceedings would not be given effect to till their petitions challenging the provisional attachment order and the proceedings are finally decided.
The court listed their petitions along with that of Virbhadra’s son and daughter, who have also challenged the provisional attachment of some of their assets. The high court had stayed further proceedings against Virbhadra’s son and daughter, but refused to pass the same order with regard to the Himachal Pradesh chief minister and his wife.
It said it was “unable to agree” with the contention of the couple that a similar order ought to be passed in their case also, as Virbhadra’s son and daughter were not named in the FIR lodged under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The bench on May 27 had said it would pass order on Monday on the couple’s application for interim relief.
Singh and his wife have sought stay on the March 23 PAO of ED, besides quashing and setting aside of the same, on the ground that it has “exceeded its jurisdiction”.
They have also sought quashing of the April 26 notice issued to them under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The ED has attached assets worth nearly Rs 5.80 crore belonging to Pratibha Singh and Rs 1.34 crore of Virbhadra Singh, their joint petition said.
They have, in their plea, urged the court to quash the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) of October 27, 2015, lodged purportedly under PMLA.