Delhi HC refrains Centre from taking action against Gautam Khaitan in money laundering case

New Delhi [India]: The Delhi High Court on Thursday refrained the central government and the Income Tax Department from taking any action at this stage from proceeding against lawyer Gautam Khaitan under the provisions of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.

The decision was taken by the division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anu Malhotra.
“We are of the opinion that the petitioner (Gautam Khaitan) has made out a good prima facie case for grant of interim relief,” the Court said.

It added, “In the prima facie, we find ourselves unable to agree with the submission made on behalf of the official respondents (Centre and Income tax department).”

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Khaitan has claimed that the Centre’s notification declaring the date of enforcement of the Act as July 1, 2015, was ultra vires the Act and hence null and void.

Agreeing with the contention, the Court stated “Parliament in its wisdom enacted the said Act and expressly provided therein that save as otherwise provided in the said Act, it shall come into force on the 1st day of April, 2016. There is, therefore, no gainsaying the legal position that, the power to make Rules or remove difficulties under the provisions of Sections 85 and 86 of the said Act, could only be exercised by the Central Government, once the said Act came into force on the 1st April, 2016, the date expressly stipulated by Parliament in this behalf, and not prior thereto.”

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The matter is slated to be heard for July 4.

Khaitan is currently on bail in the case. Khaitan was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate pursuant to an investigation under the Act, on January 26. As per the prosecution, Khaitan had deposited nearly Rs. 6,000 crore in offshore accounts.

A chargesheet has also been filed against Khaitan, violation of provisions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.


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