Bombay High Court Grants Interim Protection To Uddhav Thackeray Led Shiv Sena's Leader Anil Parab In Money Laundering Case

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The high court granted interim relief to the leader of Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray after Parab informed the court that he had rushed to court after becoming aware of the tweet of Kirit Somaiya.

A division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Sharmila U Deshmukh on Tuesday asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to refrain from taking any coercive action against Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab till March 20 in connection with a money laundering case related to a resort in Dapoli, Maharashtra.

The court issued the direction in response to Parab's plea to quash the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered by the ED, whereby Parab had been summoned.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Amit Desai, representing Parab, argued that the ED had registered the ECIR based on a criminal complaint filed by an individual alleging violation of the Environmental Protection Act, Coastal Zone Regulations, and the offence of cheating under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code.

Desai further pointed out that the ED had registered the ECIR without following the grounds laid down in Lalita Kumari, which could have serious implications.

Parab had approached the court seeking urgent relief after BJP leader Kirit Somaiya tweeted about the arrest of Sadanand Kadam, the owner of the resort and an alleged close aide of Parab. Somaiya had indicated in his tweets that Parab could be the next person to be arrested. Parab moved the High Court within days after ED arrested Kadam for his involvement in the Dapoli case.

The agency has claimed that the value of the land is around Rs 2.74 crore, and the resort on the land was valued at Rs 7.46 crore, generated through criminal activities.

Desai submitted that Parab is a leader from an opposition party and is also strategizing the constitution bench matter pending before the Supreme Court relating to the fall of Uddhav Thackeray's government.

Parab's counsel claimed that around 2020-21, several false and frivolous complaints and proceedings were initiated against Parab on account of political rivalries.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the ED, informed the Court that Parab had an alternate remedy of filing an anticipatory bail plea before the special ED court. Singh argued that Parab's anticipatory bail plea could be considered on its merits, but there was no reason to grant interim relief.

Desai, on the other hand, informed the court that the magistrate had taken cognizance of the complaint but only with respect to the violation of environmental law provisions and not of IPC offences. The order had been challenged by Parab before a sessions court in Khed, and even the sessions court had allowed the revision plea by Parab and set aside the order issuing process to Parab, he informed.

Court posted the matter for further hearing on March 20, 2023 while asking ASG to inform the ED officers to not take any coercive action against Parab until then.

Case Title: Anil Dattatray Parab vs Directorate of Enforcement & Anr.