HC suspends Look-Out-Circular against Feroz Lakdawala | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

HC suspends Look-Out-Circular against Feroz Lakdawala

BySahyaja MS
Mar 06, 2024 07:52 AM IST

Bombay HC suspends ED's Look Out Circular against Feroz Lakdawala, allowing him to travel abroad. Case linked to Khandala land grab by his late father, builder Yusuf Lakdawala.

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday suspended a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Feroz Lakdawala, son of late builder Yusuf Lakdawala for nearly three weeks starting March 7.

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The suspension, granted by a bench comprising Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Manjusha Deshpande, allows Feroz Lakdawala to travel to the USA and UAE to meet extended family members. However, as a condition of the suspension, he must deposit his wife’s passport with the agency and provide detailed travel itineraries and contact information prior to the trip.

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This decision came on a petition filed by Feroz Lakdawala and his wife Noorie Lakdawala, challenging the LOC issued in connection with a money laundering case linked to the Khandala land grab involving Feroz’s father.

Feroz Lakdawala, in his petition filed towards the end of 2023, claimed they only found out about the LOC while examining an Enforcement Case Information Report from July 2019 against his father, which they received in September 2021. He argued that since neither he nor his wife is accused or named in any money laundering case involving his father, there is no basis for imposing travel restrictions on them. He further asserted that such constraints violate their rights to equality and freedom, especially considering their directorship roles in various companies that require overseas travel.

The ED, in its reply to the court, acknowledged that Feroz Lakdawala is not an accused in the case under investigation but stated that further investigation is ongoing. The agency’s counsel mentioned that if no charge-sheet is filed against the petitioners within three months, they will not oppose the petitioners’ application seeking cancellation of the LOC.

The money laundering case against Yusuf Lakdawala, initiated by the Enforcement Directorate, stems from an FIR filed by Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing in April 2019. The allegations involve the usurpation of Khandala land originally owned by writer Mulk Raj Anand. Yusuf Lakdawala, with alleged assistance from associates, purportedly forged documents to claim ownership of the land. He was arrested by the ED in May 2021. He passed away in September 2021 while in custody.

The allegations against Yusuf Lakdawala include forging agreement papers dating back to 1949 and using counterfeit documents to obtain an affidavit and a confirmation deed. It is also alleged that attempts were made to destroy the original land records at the Lonavala revenue office.

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