FEMA case: Delhi HC reserves order on Moitra’s plea alleging ED leaked confidential, unverified info

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) told the Delhi High Court on Thursday that it has not leaked any information to the media in connection with the ongoing probe under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) against Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra.

Moitra has challenged ED’s approach in handling the investigation against her in the matter.

The ED’s counsel, on instructions, told Justice Subramonium Prasad that it is not aware about the sources of the news articles published by media houses, and that the agency has not given any press release.

Justice Prasad has now reserved his order for Friday on Moitra’s plea.

The ED had issued summons to her under FEMA on February 14 and 20.

Senior advocate Rebecca John for Moitra submitted that, “I was summoned for the first time by the summons dated February 14, 2024. It was received at a Calcutta Residence which is unoccupied by me. The news article begins to say even before the summons reached me.”

Moitra’s plea seeks judicial intervention to prevent the ED from disseminating any “confidential or unverified information” related to the case to the media.

She has named 19 media organisations, urging the court to restrain them from broadcasting or publishing any “unverified, unconfirmed, false, derogatory content” concerning the ongoing investigation.

Moitra’s plea stresses the necessity for media reporting on her case to align with official ED press releases, aiming to ensure factual accuracy and prevent misinformation. She has accused the ED of deliberately leaking information about the investigation and her preliminary responses, which she argues aims to tarnish her reputation through a “media-trial.”

“It is submitted that instead of undertaking a fair, transparent and ethical investigation into the alleged violations of the FEMA by the Petitioner, Respondent No. 1 (ED) has willfully and maliciously leaked the details of the FEMA Summons, as well as the preliminary response…” Moitra’s petition reads.

She contends that such actions compromise the investigation’s integrity and infringe upon her rights, including her right to privacy, dignity, and a fair investigation.

“Respondent No. 1 has acted against the procedure prescribed under the law as it has leaked confidential, half-baked, speculative/unconfirmed information to the media in relation to the ongoing proceedings/investigation under FEMA against the Petitioner,” Moitra has said.

In addition to the FEMA case, Moitra has been embroiled in controversy over allegations of receiving cash in exchange for parliamentary queries on behalf of businessman Darshan Hiranandani, a charge she has denied despite admitting to sharing her Parliament login details with him.

She has also filed a defamation suit against individuals including BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, with a judgment on interim relief pending.

Recently, the court had allowed Moitra to withdraw her petition challenging the eviction notice by the Directorate of Estates to vacate the government bungalow that was allotted to her but cancelled following her expulsion from the Lok Sabha. On January 18, the court had refused to stay the eviction notice issued to the expelled Lok Sabha MP.

IANS

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