Setback to ED as Calcutta High Court turns down its plea to freeze assets of Rashmi Metaliks

Enforcement Directorate raided multiple premises of Rashmi group of companies in July and froze its bank deposits of Rs 95 crores as part of a money laundering investigation

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Kolkata: In a major setback to Enforcement Directorate (ED), and relief to Rashmi Metaliks, Calcutta High Court turned down the plea of the central agency to freeze the assets of the iron and steel maker.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in July raided multiple premises of the West Bengal-based Rashmi group of companies and froze its bank deposits of about Rs 95 crores as part of a money laundering investigation.

Rashmi Metaliks Limited is one of the flagship companies of Rashmi Group, incorporated in the year 2004.

On Wednesday, Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya not only turned down the plea to freeze Rashmi Metaliks’ assets but also gave a clean chit to Rashmi Metaliks in a money laundering case.

Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya observed that the ED raids on multiple premises of the company and subsequent freezing of bank deposits worth Rs 95 crore were conducted after seven years from the date on which all pending proceedings in the matter were stayed by the Supreme Court.

Justice Bhattacharya also observed that the impugned orders cannot be sustained either in law or in fact.

The court observed that the ED took steps for search and seizure and freezing of the petitioner’s bank accounts after 7 years from the date on which all pending proceedings were stayed by the Supreme Court.

“This court is therefore inclined to hold that the ED could not have initiated any action against the petitioners during the subsistence of the order of stay of the pending proceedings against the petitioner number 1 by the Supreme Court dated 14th December 2015,” Justice Bhattacharya’s order said.

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