Mumbai, Feb 25 (UNI) The Bombay High Court today refused any relief to Pune-based builder and contractor Avinash Bhosale in the matter of confiscation of his passport by the Enforcement Directorate.
A division bench, comprising Justices S B Mhase and V K Tahilramani, observed that the Enforcement Directorate had authority to withhold the passport and admitted Bhosale's petition for final hearing, without granting any relief to him.
Senior Counsel Milind Sathe, appearing for Bhosale, contended that the Enforcement Directorate could confiscate documents related only to accounts and as passport did not fall in the category, the ED officials had no authority to withhold someone's passport.
He also pointed out that there were no provisions for prosecution under Foreign Exchange Management Act and only penalties could be levied on persons found to be violating provisions of the FEMA.
While countering the averments, Additional Solicitor General Rajendra Raghuvanshi informed the court that the ED's investigations against Bhosale were at a crusial stage but he was not co-operating with the agency officials and had not handed over his old passport.
The ED officials had traced two of Bhosale's bank accounts, one personal and other in the name of his company Bhosale Trading Company, and efforts were on to obtain statements of those accounts, he said, adding that the ED officials apprehended manipulation of documents if Bhosale's passport was released and he was allowed to fly overseas.
Bhosale had moved the High Court after Custom officials, on January 12, handed over his passport to ED for investigations into alleged FEMA violations to the tune of 4 lakh US Dollars.
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