New Delhi [India], December 11 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Saturday granted an interim stay over notice issued to Enforcement Directorate officials, who are probing coal mining case, to appear before the West Bengal Police.
The Court also issued notice to the West Bengal government and asked it to file its response to the petition within 4 weeks and the petitioners may file a rejoinder affidavit within 2 weeks thereafter.
Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar said, "It is a settled proposition of law that the three conditions are required to be established for grant of any interim relief: a strong prima facie case, balance of convenience and irreparable injury to the petitioner. In view of the discussions hereinabove, I find that the present case is a fit case for grant of ad-interim relief."
"Therefore, in view of the same, the operation of the notices dated 22.07.2021 and 21.08.2021 passed qua the petitioners in FIR No. 33 dated 05.04.2021 registered by the respondents (WB) has stayed till further orders," the Court said.
The Court listed the matter for further hearing on February 18, 2022.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by the Directorate of Enforcement and its three officials. They have sought to issue direction to West Bengal to quash the notices dated 22/07/2021 and 21/08/2021 and any other consequential notices and/or orders that may be passed qua the petitioners in FIR No. 33 dated 05.04.2021.
ED has earlier moved HC seeking quashing of notices issued by West Bengal Police against its official probing coal mining case and the alleged involvement of TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee in it.
ED said the notices were issued by the West Bengal Police on August 21, 2021, and July 22, 2021, to its officials performing their Statutory functions in the headquarters in Delhi.
ED told the Delhi High Court that in order to pressurize the officials investigating the case related to illegal coal mining, Abhishek Banerjee lodged an FIR on April 5, 2021, against a news channel and in furtherance of the same, notices have been issued to the investigating officers investigating the case of illegal coal mining by the West Bengal Police.
"The said FIR has been registered with a malafide intention to derail the investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) being conducted by the Directorate of Enforcement," ED said in its petition filed before Delhi High Court.
ED and its officers have filed the petition through advocate Amit Mahajan. The petitioners include investigating agency and its officers, who are working as Assistant Directors in the Directorate of Enforcement.
On November 27, 2021, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has lodged a case against some persons for alleged commission of a cognizable offence dealing with criminal conspiracy of IPC and provision of Prevention of Corruption Act.
On the basis of CBI's FIR, ED on November 28 2020 also lodged a complaint under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act against some persons and initiated an investigation in the matter.
On July 22, 2021, ED issued a summons to TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee for appearance. Abhishek Banerjee through counsel replied to the summons dated 04.08.2021 seeking three weeks' time to arrange the information. On August 18, issued a summons to Abhishek Banerjee for an appearance on September 6, 2021.
As per the ED's FIR, illegal excavation and theft of coal were being done by criminal elements from the leasehold area of Eastern Coalfield Ltd. in active connivance of the officials of ECL, CISF, and Indian Railways and concerned other departments.
The agency alleged that illegal mining is going on at the leasehold area of ECL behind Topsi village under Kunustoria Area and at Lachhipur Village under Kajora Area by the coal mafias in active connivance with officials of Eastern Coalfields Limited and those of Central Industrial Security Force. (ANI)