The Madras High Court today granted interim stay on all further proceedings in an Economic Offences Court against AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran in a FERA violation case. Justice M S Ramesh said, “On the face of the records, reasonable opportunities have not been extended to the petitioner during the course of hearing. Notice to respondent (Enforcement Directorate) returnable by July 17. Private notice permitted.” The judge said there shall be an order of interim stay of all further proceedings in the case before additional chief metropolitan magistrate (EO-I), Egmore till then. The high court then posted the case for further hearing to July 17.
Dhinakaran had filed a petition in the court for a stay of the order on the framing of charges by the Economic Offences Court (I) at Egmore on April 19 in the case filed by the Enforcement Directorate alleging Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violations. He had said the additional chief metropolitan magistrate did not hear his counsel before framing the charges and pleaded that the order be set aside. The ED case was that as the sole director of M/s Dipper Investments Limited Company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, Dhinakaran had transferred over USD 10 million without the RBI’s permission. The ED said the company maintained a bank account (no. 30018937) with Barclays Bank, Suttan (Surrey), UK, and alleged that in 1994 issued 21 cheques having a total value of USD 1,04,93,313 which were deposited in the account of M/s Dipper Investments in Barclays Bank. It alleged that the money was transferred through a person who was not an authorised dealer in foreign exchange and without general or special permission of the RBI.
A total of six charges were framed against Dhinakaran for alleged violation of various sections of the FERA, which has been repealed.
Dhinakaran said, “The order of the magistrate is in grave violation of not just procedures under the CrPC, but also violative of principles of natural justice.” He said the magistrate chose to hear the counsel for the department denying even one single adjournment and observing that the accused was not willing to argue which were “clearly arbitrary exercise of power”. The magistrate by not giving adequate opportunity to the accused to argue on charges, had resulted in grave miscarriage of justice, he said.
Though registered in 1996, the ED could not proceed ahead with the case due to several rounds of litigation. Dhinakaran was also discharged from the case, but on February 1 this year, Justice G Chockalingam allowed a revision petition filed by the ED and set aside Dhinakaran’s discharge. It paved the way for resumption of the case and led to framing of charges on April 19. A court frames charges against an accused after it finds sufficient prima facie evidence against him to put him on formal trial in the case.