‘We’ve to respect humanity’: Bombay HC asks ED if summons to Lawyers Collective’s Anand Grover can be deferred

The plea by Lawyers Collective sought to quash and set aside the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered by ED under provisions of Prevention of the Money Laundering Act (PMLA)

Bombay HC 
Bombay HC

NH Web Desk

Keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to consider deferring the summons issued to Senior Advocate Anand Grover in his capacity as Trustee of the NGO, the Lawyers Collective in connection with a money laundering case, legal news website BarandBench.com has reported.

The plea by Lawyers Collective sought to quash and set aside the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered by the ED under provisions of the Prevention of the Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the consequential summons and investigation arising from the report.

Appearing for the ED, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh sought time to reply to the petition moved by Jaising and Grover challenging the summons issued to them.

Senior Advocate Amit Desai, appearing for the petitioners, informed the court that the summons directed their appearance before the ED on November 26, 2020, in Delhi.

The Bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik directed the counsel for the ED to take instructions as to whether the summons can be deferred for some more time. The court orally observed, "The virus is spreading and you have to bear in mind the scenario. The petitioner is around 80 years old, had been tested COVID positive. We need to respect humanity."

"We need to mind the case too, but considering the situation in our state and the rising cases in Delhi, your authority (to ASG) can defer the summons," the court added.

The court gave ASG time to seek instructions from the ED and, thereafter, fixed the matter for hearing tomorrow.

Summons were issued to Grover to produce the records of accounts concerning the foreign contribution to his NGO.

The ECIR was filed pursuant to an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2019 claiming the NGO has violated provision of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).

The plea also challenges the jurisdiction of the ED to register the ECIR in Delhi, when an FIR has been registered by CBI in Mumbai where the registered office of the NGO is situated.

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