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Judiciary

Mahua Moitra loses case in Delhi HC to restrain ED ‘leaking’ details on FEMA probe

By Shreya Agarwal      23 February, 2024 08:32 PM      0 Comments
Mahua Moitra loses case in Delhi HC to restrain ED leaking details on FEMA probe

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea filed by Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mahua Moitra to restrain the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from sharing any information with the media about an ongoing investigation against her for alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Maintenance Act, 1999 (FEMA).

Moitra alleged violation of her rights under Article 21 of the Constitution (right to privacy under right to life), questioning how information about the case was published by the media even before she received the summons.

"I am not against ED's right to investigate. I am saying I will submit to their jurisdiction. It is about the information being leaked prior to being communicated to me. ED is drip-feeding confidential information to the media," Sr. Adv. Rebecca John argued for Moitra.

Also Read- Mahua Moitra vacates govt bungalow, after Delhi HC setback

Countering the same, however, the bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad enquired how reports of Moitra moving the court were in the media even before the court heard the matter, and indicated that the same was due to her being a public personality.

Adv. Siddhant Kumar for ANI argued against Moitra’s plea, citing a likely chilling effect on the media.

Highlighting the importance of, and the right of the media to investigate and publish source-based information, he argued, “We have been reporting source-based information since a long time. It is because of source based information that scandals like Watergate in the US came to light.”

Also Read- SC refuses interim relief to Mahua Moitra against her expulsion as LS MP

His stand was supported by Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma who appeared for the Central government. He submitted that the media had also got to know about Moitra moving the court in the matter, based on source-based information, and said the Centre is not aware of where the media had got information from about the probe.

Moitra had moved the Court alleging that the ED had been ‘leaking’ sensitive information to the media regarding an ongoing FEMA violation probe against her, in connection with which she was also summoned recently.

Moitra also sought to restrain media houses from reporting the said information - seeking relief against channels and groups like ANI, Business Today, Economic Times, Financial Express, Hindustan Times, India TV, Indian Express, Mint, Moneycontrol, NDTV, Times Group and others.

ED had issued summons to Moitra last week directing her to appear before it on February 19. It denied any knowledge of the source of the alleged leaks.

Also Read- Delhi HC reserves interim order in Mahua Moitra's defamation suit



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