Thiruvananthapuram, October 10 (BPNS)
In a major relief to the state’s former finance minister TM Thomas Isaac, the Kerala High Court ordered the Enforcement Directorate not to issue further summons in connection with its probe into the alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act in the issuance of Masala Bonds in 2019. The issuance of the summons has been put on hold for two months. Some officials of the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) will also enjoy the benefit of the order.
At the same time, Justice VG Arun has suo motu impleaded Reserve Bank of India represented by its chief general manager, Foreign Exchange Department as an additional respondent in the case.
The matter has been posted for further consideration on November 15.
Considering the two pleas, the court had observed that although the inquiry/investigation by the Enforcement Directorate is not liable to be interdicted, there is no justification for the petitioners being repeatedly summoned by the officers of the ED.
“For the aforementioned reasons issuance of further summons to the petitioners shall be kept on hold for two months,” said the court.
Earlier, in August, the same bench had orally observed that Isaac has the right to privacy and it cannot be curtailed without following the proper procedure established by law. The court said this while asking the ED to explain why it has sought documents relating to personal assets of Isaac in connection with the probe into the financial transactions of the KIIFB.
The central agency had then sought Isaac’s income tax returns, details of financial transactions, and movable and immovable properties belonging to him and his family members.
KIIFB had earlier brought to the attention of the court that the repeated summoning of ED is affecting the functioning of the KIIFB. They alleged that the chief executive officer, deputy managing director, joint fund manager, and assistant general manager of KIIFB have been summoned for one and a half years starting from March 2021.