Was detained at airport in violation of court order, says meat exporter Moin Qureshi

New Delhi: Controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi on Monday told Delhi High Court that he was detained at the airport on his return to India and “whisked away” by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in violation of a judicial order staying the lookout circular against him.

Qureshi made the submission in an application filed before Justice A K Pathak, who issued notice to the Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance, ED and Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) seeking their replies to his plea in which he has claimed that no money laundering case is made out against him.

The court asked the authorities to file their replies before the next date of hearing on January 6 next year.

In his application, Qureshi said the court had on October 26 this year stayed the lookout circular (LC) against him till November 22, despite which he was detained and his passport impounded by ED when he arrived in India on November 21. He said he was to appear before ED only the next day.

He contended that since the authorities have not replied to his main petition seeking quashing of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) lodged against him by ED, their right to file a reply should be closed.

Qureshi has claimed that the respondents were avoiding filing their reply to the writ petition as they were aware that no case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act is made out against him. He has also sought directions to ED to supply him with a copy of the ECIR, saying it is mandatory under the law and would also help him understand the allegations against him.

The Delhi-based meat exporter contended that since he arrived in the country, he has been appearing before ED on each date that he has been summoned except on two occasions.

The court on October 26 had told Qureshi “not to behave like Vijay Mallya” and directed him to return to India by mid -November. It had said it was not going to restrain the ED from taking any “coercive steps” against Qureshi, who had managed to go abroad despite a LC issued against him.

On October 15, when Qureshi was stopped at IGI Airport on following issuance of the LC, he had shown a trial court order obtained in an income tax case in which he was granted bail and had left for Dubai.

ED had registered a case under the PMLA last year against Qureshi, who has been under scanner of probe agencies for alleged tax evasion and hawala-like dealings. In his petition, he had stated that ED had conducted search at his premises under FEMA and probing allegations in which he and others were called for questioning on various occasions and they had appeared.