Karnataka High Court Asks ED If Amnesty International Can Be Allowed To Pay Statutory Dues From Frozen Bank Accounts

first_imgNews UpdatesKarnataka High Court Asks ED If Amnesty International Can Be Allowed To Pay Statutory Dues From Frozen Bank Accounts Mustafa Plumber8 Dec 2020 6:21 AMShare This – xThe Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the Enforcement Directorate to respond by tomorrow whether it is willing to allow international human rights body, Amnesty International’s India offices (M/s Indians for Amnesty International Trust), to make statutory dues like salaries, tax payments, etc to the tune of Rs 40 lakh per month, from the five bank accounts which have been frozen…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the Enforcement Directorate to respond by tomorrow whether it is willing to allow international human rights body, Amnesty International’s India offices (M/s Indians for Amnesty International Trust), to make statutory dues like salaries, tax payments, etc to the tune of Rs 40 lakh per month, from the five bank accounts which have been frozen by ED. A single judge bench of Justice P S Dinesh Kumar said: “If you can strike a via-media balance somewhere let the execution go on, if you take limited time and both of you agree I will dispose of this petition.” The judge added “Call your officer, (ASG) take your instruction. If you can strike a balance we will close the matter accordingly, tomorrow morning.” Senior Advocate Professor Ravivarma Kumar appearing for the petitioners submitted that on the previous hearing also the court had suo-motu given time to the department to respond. The court said “If something can be solved then why to do all this. I am just thinking if both sides can be balanced, so I have requested the ASG to come back tomorrow, with instructions. If he says something we can close this. Only his answer to this question will be taken tomorrow or else we will pass the order tomorrow.” In the previous hearing the court had directed ED to disclose the power under which it has written to the banks directing them to freeze accounts . Additional Solicitor General M B Nargund responded by saying “We are in the process of investigations. During that process the officer of the department has communicated to the bank and thus the proceeds of the crime in the bank account are frozen. Since the matter was immediately brought to the notice of the court we could not proceed further.” ASG, narrating the alleged modus operandi used by the international organisation to transfer funds illegally to entities in India, said “These proceeds of the crime are at this point being used according to them for creating awareness in the society. According to us, it is to create problems in the Indian society.” The department sought 45-days time from the court for passing appropriate orders in regards to the five accounts which have been frozen but not attached in the order passed on November 26, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Kumar countered the submission by saying “The donations are for spreading human rights and upholding human rights. That is the only activity I have done, it is for nothing else as it is not for profit organisation. Even in the order there is no whisper that any one of the accounts is tainted with a particular donation under FEMA or PMLA Act.” Kumar opposed the request made by ASG seeking 45 days to pass appropriate orders he said “The PMLA Act is a self contained code it regulates all powers including incidental powers. All these powers are self limiting powers operating for a period of 30 days. The maximum time by statute is 30 days. Still the department has come forward seeking for 45 days, where is it permissible? I have been harassed for two years.” He added that “I have made out a prima facie case, balance of convenience is in my favor and the org will be choked, if the interim order will not be made. It will be a great fraud to any human rights activities carried out in this country, which is a constitutional value.”Following the seizure of its bank accounts, Amnesty International announced in September that it was stopping its India operations. Next Storylast_img read more