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HC notice to AJL, Moti Lal on plea challenging stay order

September 11, 2019 05:37 AM


HC notice to AJL, Moti Lal on plea challenging stay order
HT Correspondent

CHANDIGARH : The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday issued notice to the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and senior Congress leader Moti Lal Vohra on a plea, by the enforcement directorate (ED), challenging stay order passed by the appellate tribunal against the attachment of a Panchkula plot.

The high court bench of justice Surinder Gupta has sought response from both the respondents to file their replies by November 7 and has further asked why the attachment order should not be stayed.

Enforcement directorate had registered a case on July 15, 2016, against AJL on the allegation that Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the then chief minister, Haryana, had re-allotted plot no C-17, Sector-6, Panchkula to AJL on Vohra’s request. It was alleged that he ignored provisions of law and the opinion of all the officers against such re-allotment.

ED had passed a provisional attachment of the property order on December 1, 2018, which was confirmed by the adjudicating authority, ED on May 21, 2019. However, AJL filed an appeal against these orders and the appellate tribunal in Delhi, in its order on July 4 ordered the maintenance of ‘status quo’ of the property.

Additional Solicitor General Satya Pal Jain, appearing for ED had argued that from the facts of the case it is clear that the plot was re-allotted to AJL by former CM in utter violation of the law of the land. The whole transaction is the result of a serious crime and was in violation of various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA Act), the court was told. He had further argued that the appellate authority had no power to grant any interim order in favour of AJL. The court was also informed that under Section 26 of the Prevention PMLA Act, the appellate authority could modify, rescind or set aside the order but it has no power to grant any interim order. Moti Lal Vora is chairman and AJL has Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi as shareholders in it.

The plot had been initially allotted to AJL in 1982. After the expiry of the lease period in 1996, Haryana Vikas Party government, led by Bansi Lal, took back its possession. It was re-allotted to AJL after the Congress came to power in 2005. CBI too is probing the alleged illegality in allotment

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