Gujarat High Court granted relief to an individual whose property assets got seized by the Enforcement Directorate. The authorities suspected him of replacing old demonetized currency notes amounting to ₹36.17 crores.
The Gujarat High Court asserted that the property confiscated by the authorities was bought by the man before he was booked under PLMA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002) and other charges of the Indian Penal Code.
Hemanshu Shah filed this petition with the help of his advocate Jigar Mehta. Hemanshu is a partner in M/s Shah Maganlal Gulabchand Choksi, a bullion trading firm.
The IT department in Gandhidham had received information concerning high-value deposits of outdated currency notes in the bank accounts of M/s SN Traders and M/s Nirav & Company, according to case data.
The case was forwarded to the Surat IT office. During the inspection of the petitioners’ and their affiliated businesses’ premises, it was discovered that between November 10, 2016, and December 4, 2016, Rs 36.17 crore was credited to Nirav & Co’s bank account.
Later, this money was transferred to Hemanshu Shah’s firm and other entities. Shah, bank employees, and others were named in two complaints filed by the Surat IT office with the CBI in Gandhinagar.
The probe under PMLA, 2002 revealed that Shah handled and operated the bank account of M/s Nirav & Co in Surat People’s Coop Bank. He had reportedly deposited Rs 36.17 crore with the help of Maharshi Chokas to convert unaccounted black money into the banking system.
For this purpose, he had exploited Nirav Shah’s photo identity and other supporting credentials. After this, M/s Maganlal Gulabchand Shah’s bank account got credited with the alleged money.
Believing this as proceeds of crime, the IT department got the details of his immovable properties. They then ordered its provisional attachment for 180 days which got confirmed later.
The case was moved to HC due to the unavailability of the adjudicating authority of the appellate court. Mehta argued that the department’s attached properties were obtained before the passage of the PMLA Act which is why the department can’t attach it.