Take concrete steps to examine the money-laundering charges made against members of the controversial Adarsh housing society in Cuffe Parade, the Bombay high court directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday.
The court was hearing the ED’s plea seeking the modification of its February 28 order, which directed the ED director to appear in court on March 12 to share the steps the ED has decided to take to examine the money-laundering allegations.
The ED had sought permission to allow its special director to appear in court instead of the director as the special director is in charge of the western region and is in Mumbai, whereas the director is based in Delhi. The court accepted the request, but expressed its displeasure over the manner in which the ED is handling the money-laundering probe in the Adarsh scam.
“How long are you going to take to complete the investigation — five years, 100 years or 200 years?” the division bench of Justice PB Majmudar and Justice RD Dhanuka asked ED counsel RV Desai after he could not commit to a timeframe for the investigation.
Acting on a public interest litigation filed by Thane resident Pravin Wategaonkar, on February 28, the court had summoned the ED director after finding that the agency responsible for probing offences registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act had not done anything to investigate the money-laundering charges. Last week too, the court had ticked off the ED after it found that the documents it said it was waiting for from the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Income Tax department had already been handed over.
“Prima facie, we are of the opinion that there is a serious lapse on the part of the ED in not investigating the allegation.” The court had then summoned the agency’s director.