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‘No stay on attachment proceedings’, says Delhi HC on Virbhadra Singh’s plea

Smrithi Suresh

The Delhi High Court today declined a stay on the attachment proceedings undertaken by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the assets of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, however, clarified that any order passed by the adjudicating authority will not take effect during the pendency of Singh’s petition in the High Court.

Singh and his wife had sought a stay on the provisional attachment order (PAO) of March 23 and the proceedings initiated by ED against them under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Previously, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal had appeared for Singh and challenged the vires of Section 5 of PMLA. Sibal had argued that ED’s apprehension of Singh and his family disposing of their assets was ‘unfounded’ since his clients had given an express undertaking to the authorities that they will not deal with the properties during the pendency of the proceedings.

Sibal had also highlighted a similar stay order granted by the High Court previously against Singh’s children and had sought for the same relief in this case.

ASG Sanjay Jain, who had appeared for the Union government, had responded by stating that relief was granted to Singh’s children because their names did not feature in the FIR filed under PMLA. However, Singh and his wife were named in the FIR. Jain had also argued that since this was merely a provisional order, Singh could participate in the investigation proceedings voluntarily and end the controversy over the issue.

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