A consulting firm allegedly linked to former union minister P Chidambaram's son Karti has moved the Madras High Court challenging the 'freezing' of its bank accounts by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.
When the petition filed by the Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited came up for a hearing Thursday, Justice R Mahadevan adjourned it to Friday.
The ED Thursday said it has attached assets worth Rs 54 crore of Karti in India, the UK and Spain in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.
Fixed deposits worth Rs 90 lakh, kept in a bank in Chennai, in the name of ASCPL have also been attached, it said.
The ED had registered the money laundering case on the basis of a CBI FIR and had alleged that irregularities took place in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Karti's father was the Union finance minister.
In its petition, the ASCPL submitted that the ED had on September 24 directed branch managers of three banks here not to allow any debt from the current
accounts of the company without obtaining prior permission.
Contending that the ED's directive was illegal, without authority of law and arbitrary, it wanted the court to quash it.
According to the petitioner, the ED in its letters to the Nungambakkam branches of the DCB Bank and Indian Overseas Bank and the Mylapore branch of the Axis Bank, where the ASCPL holds accounts, had referred to the investigation under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Karti.
The ED had said that it had come to its notice during the investigation that these accounts besides those of Karti and others were suspected to have been used for the purpose of money laundering, the petitioner submitted.
The agency had also requested the bankers to provide transcript, account opening form and KYC documents of the accounts, the company said.
The ASCPL also submitted the CBI in its FIR in the case had alleged that Karti had received Rs 10 lakh through it as illegal gratification for influencing the FIPB officials.
It said the company had filed a petition seeking to quash the FIR which is pending in court.
The petitioner further contended that the ED had no jurisdiction to investigate the alleged offence under the PMLA in relation to INX Media deal and hence the communication sent by the agency to the bankers for freezing its accounts was without authority of Law.
(With inputs from agencies.)