Hyderabad: Former Union finance minister and Supreme Court senior counsel P. Chidambaram on Friday argued before the Hyderabad High Court that the Enforcement Directorate cannot summon any accused after trial has commenced in a case. He was representing Dalmia Cements managing director Punith Dalmia before Justice Vilas V. Afzulpurkar on a petition challenging the ED action against the company and its management in connection with the illegal investments case of YSRC president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Mr Chidambaram entered the court hall of Justice Afzulpurkar wearing the lawyer?s gown and made a mention of the case by Mr Dalmia and urged the court to hear it. The judge agreed to take up the case after 3 pm though it had been placed at the end of the day?s list. Advancing his arguments at 3.30 pm, Mr Chidambaram told the court that the ED had been summoning his client even after the chargesheet was filed in the case, which is unlawful.
He contended that deposing before the ED when the trial is on was detrimental to the interests of his client as the ED may use his statements against him. The case was posted to February 16 for the ED to respond.
CBI to decide on Jagan Mohan case:
Justice Raja Elango of the Hyderabad High Court on Friday directed the CBI special court to decide by February 29 whether it would transfer the trial against YSRC president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and his auditor Vijay Sai Reddy to the Enforcement Directorate special court or not, and ordered the ED court not to proceed on the case till that date. Mr D Prakash Reddy, senior counsel for the YSRC president, said the petitioners were being tried for possessing money which the ED dubbed crime money.
The CBI court was trying the main case; if it acquits Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy, the question of calling it crime money does not arise, he said. A separate trial on crime money at this premature stage is not only uncalled for but also unlawful beside being contrary to the principles of natural justice and rights of the petitioner, he said. Mr G. Rajagopalan, additional solicitor general appearing for the ED, said the procedure under the Prevention of Money laundering Act contemplates a joint trial in such cases. He urged the court to direct the CBI court to transfer the trial to the Enforcement Directorate court.