HC directs ED to file counter affidavit in Rohith Reddy’s plea, declines to stay proceedings

Justice K. Lakshman of Telangana High Court on Wednesday directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) authorities to file counter affidavit in the writ petition filed by Tandur BRS MLA Pilot Rohith Reddy.

Declining to pass order staying the proceedings initiated by ED officials in Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) No. 48 of 2022, the judge issued notice to the officials. He directed them to respond by January 5.

Appearing for Mr. Rohith Reddy, senior counsel and YSRCP MP S. Niranjan Reddy contended that the ED’s ECIR against the MLA was not maintainable. To initiate proceedings under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the ingredient of proceeds of crime was a must.

The ECIR issued against Rohith Reddy was based on the criminal case registered by the Moinabad police of Cyberabad commissionerate. “In that case, only money was offered to lure the MLAs but no proceeds of crime were found. Hence, the ED cannot invoke PMLA,” the senior counsel said.

Citing extensively from Vijay Madanlal Choudhary Vs Union of India case in the Supreme Court, Mr. Reddy said that when there were no proceeds of crime in the MLAs’ poaching attempt case there was no jurisdiction for the ED to step in.

As the senior counsel explained that the ED authorities sought extensive details of the petitioner’s properties from 2015 while the case was registered in 2022, the judge observed that the MLA should have no objections since details of his assets would have been already mentioned in the election affidavit.

The senior counsel said the investigating agency was being maliciously used to target his petitioner. The petitioner’s counsel requested the court to exempt the MLA from further appearance before the ED authorities. However, the judge did not pass any specific order on that point and posted the hearing to January 5. Advocate Anil Tiwari appeared for the ED.

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