New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the trial of AMMK leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran relating to a 1996 alleged FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulation Act) violation case against him.
The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna stayed the proceedings against Dhinkaran as it agreed to hear Directorate of Enforcement’s plea challenging the Madras High Court order permitting the AMMK leader to access copies of the documents being relied by the ED against him.
“How can you have cake and eat it too,” said CJI Gogoi as the ED lawyer sought to resist the stay of the trial.
“If we allow the trial to proceed without the documents, we will be virtually deciding the course of the trial. If there is notice, there should be a stay of trial,” the CJI said, pointing out that if trial was not put on hold, it would be over by the time they decided the ED’s plea against the high court order.
Dhinakaran is facing prosecution for getting $1,04,93,313 without prior permission from the Reserve Bank of India. He had deposited this amount in a British Virgin Islands incorporated company Dipper Investments Ltd, which had an account with Barclays Bank in UK.
The high court had in 2018 asked the trial court to order ED to provide copies of the documents it was relying on against Dhinakaran to him as it heard his appeal challenging the order of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Economic Offences-II), Chennai refusing to give copies of certain documents including the case diary.
The ED had contended before the trial court that the FERA prohibited the disclosure of any document or information, including intelligence inputs which are of confidential nature.