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CHOPPER SCAM HC Raps ED for Blocking Transfer of Money by Saudi Investor

January 11, 2019 06:07 AM


HC Raps ED for Blocking Transfer of Money by Saudi Investors

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court has ruled as “wholly illegal and without authority” the Enforcement Directorate’s action to stop two Saudi investors from transferring proceeds from the sale of shares in a listed company, which is allegedly linked to the VVIP helicopter deal controversy.

A single-judge bench of the high court said there was no proof to back the ED’s claim to stop the transfer of Rs 326 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. In the order on Wednesday, Justice Vibhu Bakhru also allowed the investor to seek damages from the probe agency in what is likely to be the first such case in India.

The Saudi investors had invested in the shares of Indian basmati rice exporter KRBL in 2003. But when they tried to offload the shares last year, the ED claimed that those were “proceeds of crime” and blocked the transfer of money by writing to the Bombay Stock Exchange where the transaction took place. It also froze the shares.

The value of the shares has since reduced to almost half, said senior advocate Biswajit Bhattacharya, who argued the case for investors Abdullah Ali Balsharaf and his brother.

Bhattacharya said the ED would likely appeal the decision before a division bench. The court demanded to know how the ED could attach shares, the acquisition of which predated the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, and hold those for an indefinite period without any proof to show that these were bribe proceeds in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal. The judge said it would be open to the petitioners to seek consequential and other relief in any court or forum, in terms of seeking damages for harassment

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