NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Friday stayed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe against Hero MotoCorp executive chairman Pawan Munjal in connection with allegations that foreign currency equivalent to ₹54 crore was illegally taken out of India by Munjal and others.
A bench of justice Saurabh Banerjee ordered the stay on the money laundering probe against Munjal on the ground that the court on November 3 stayed proceedings by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which formed the basis for the ED case.
“Accordingly, there shall be a stay of proceedings under the ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report),” the high court said. The bench clarified that the stay only applied to proceedings against Pawan Munjal and ED was free to proceed against other accused.
Munjal, appearing through senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi, Sandeep Sethi and Dayanan Krishnan, reasoned that the ED probe could not continue since there was a stay on the DRI proceedings.
“The cause of action is the (DRI) complaint. The show cause resulted in exoneration. In that case, the court stayed the proceedings… then this ECIR summons should be stayed. The result in this case will depend on the first matter,” Rohatgi argued.
Munjal has also asked the high court to quash the ECIR registered by ED in July 2023 and sought the ECIR’s records.
In August this year, ED officials searched Munjal’s residential and business premises and others as part of its investigation. On November 10, ED attached three properties worth ₹24.95 crore under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), saying Munjal got issued foreign exchange/foreign currency in the name of other persons and thereafter utilised the same for his personal expenditure abroad.
ED said this was done to override the limits of $2,50,000 per annum per person under RBI’s Liberalised Remittance Scheme. Under this scheme, all resident individuals, including minors, are allowed to freely remit up to $2,50,000 per financial year (April-March) for any permissible current or capital account transaction or a combination of both, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).