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Delhi HC Refuses To Stay ED Summons To Mehbooba Mufti; Next Date Of Hearing On April 16

In a blow to PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, the Delhi High Court refused to stay summons issued to her by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.

Mehbooba Mufti

In a blow to PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, the Delhi High Court on Friday refused to stay summons issued to her by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case. Apart from seeking the quashing of summons, the ex-Jammu and Kashmir CM sought to declare Section 50 (power of ED to record statement) of the PMLA as void and inoperative. Moreover, she urged an interim stay on the summons until the question of law in relation to the constitutionality of Section 50 of the Act is decided.

However, a division bench of the Delhi HC comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh refused to grant any relief to the PDP leader. It also rejected senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan's request to ask ED not to insist on Mufti's personal presence. The former J&K CM will now have to appear before the agency on March 22. Meanwhile, the apex court also directed the ED to file a short note of submission along with a compilation of judgments relied upon by them before the next date of hearing on April 16.

Mufti's detention & subsequent woes

Former CM Mehbooba Mufti was detained on August 5, 2019, when Article 370 was abrogated. Thereafter, she was booked under the Public Safety Act. While she was shifted to her Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar which was designated as a subsidiary jail by the J&K administration in April, her detention under the PSA was extended on May 5 and July 31. Though her daughter Iltija Mufti had moved the Supreme Court in February 2020 seeking the PDP chief's release, the matter was not listed for many months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, Mufti was released on October 13, 2020, barely a few weeks after the apex court commenced hearing the habeas corpus case. 

Subsequently, PDP became a part of the People's Declaration for Gupkar Alliance and she was elected as the vice president of this coalition. However, differences within her party emerged after her categorical assertion that she won't raise the national flag until the restoration of J&K's special status. This led to a flurry of resignations with senior leaders such as Dr.Ramzan Hussain, TS Bajwa, Ved Mahajan and Hussain A Waffa leaving PDP. Mufti's problems compounded with her party winning only 27 seats in the recently concluded District Development Council polls as opposed to NC's 67 seats and the arrest of PDP youth wing president Waheed Para.

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