The Delhi High Court today sought response of the government and the Enforcement Directorate on businessman Moin Akhtar Qureshi’s plea challenging his arrest in a money laundering case. A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Nazmi Waziri issued notice to the government and the ED, asking them to file the reply within five days. The controversial meat exporter, Qureshi, was arrested on August 25 and sent to five-day custody of the ED by a trial court the next day for thorough investigation in the case against him and others.
During the hearing, advocate R K Handoo, appearing for Qureshi, contended that he has been illegally detained by the ED. He claimed Qureshi had been directly arrested when he was called for questioning and was not informed about the grounds of arrest. Central government standing counsel Anil Soni, who also appeared for ED, said that there was due compliance of Constitution mandate regarding informing a person about his arrest. The bench, however, said a person cannot be taken into custody without telling him the grounds and giving him an effective legal aid.
“Information is not just to make a person read the grounds of arrest. You have to give him a copy of it,” the bench said and asked the Centre and ED to show the official records pertaining to the arrest on the next date of hearing on September 13. The agency had told the trial court that “the witnesses have confirmed in their statements that they have delivered crores of rupees for Qureshi and his associates through his employees and one of the witnesses has stated that nearly Rs 1.75 crore have been exported by the accused from him and his friend in lieu of the help provided to him in a CBI case.”
It had also alleged that Qureshi was involved in hawala transactions through Delhi hawala operators Parvez Ali of Turkman Gate and M/s South Delhi Money Changer (DAMINI) in Greater Kailash-1, owned by one D S Anand. According to the agency, Qureshi was arrested late night on August 25 here under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after “he was not cooperating in the probe”.