The Delhi High Court Thursday sought response of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a plea by Deepak Virendra Kochhar, husband of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, seeking quashing of FIR in connection with the ICICI Bank-Videocon money laundering case. Justice A J Bhambhani issued notice to ED and asked it to file a status report in the matter.
The high court also asked the agency to file a status report on Kochhar's plea seeking interim bail on ground of his present medical condition as he is admitted to Apollo Hospital here after being tested positive for COVID-19. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Kochhar, sought quashing of ECIR registered by the ED saying it was bad in law and that Kochhar was not informed about the grounds of arrest in writing.
He also sought to declare as illegal the order of a special judge, Mumbai, remanding Kochhar to ED custody and to set aside further remand orders. Since the arrest is illegal, the consequent orders of remand would also be untenable in law, he argued.
Central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, representing the ED, raised preliminary objection on the maintainability of the petition. He contended that although the ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report) was recorded in Delhi, since the offence was committed in Mumbai, the jurisdictional court is special judge, Mumbai and appeal would lie before the Bombay High Court.
Rohatgi disputed the position saying Kochhar was seeking quashing of the entire proceedings over which the Delhi High Court will have jurisdiction. The high court granted time to Mahajan to file a status report on the issue of territorial jurisdiction and medical ground and listed the matter for further hearing on October 14.
The ED had arrested Kochhar on September 7 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with the ICICI Bank-Videocon money laundering case probe. Kochhar, who is currently in judicial custody, was brought to Delhi by ED for the purpose of questioning during which period he tested COVID-19 positive.