Saturday 10 February 2024

Analysis of Case filed by ED against former NCB officer Mr.Sameer Wankhede

Wankhede Challenges ED Case in Cordelia Cruise Drugs Bust.

Mumbai, India: - Former NCB officer Sameer Wankhede has filed a petition before the Bombay High Court challenging the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) money laundering case registered against him in connection with the 2021 Cordelia cruise drugs case.

Legal Grounds:

  • Quashing ECIR: Wankhede's petition seeks to quash the ED's Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), arguing that it lacks merit and relies solely on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR filed against him in May 2023. He contends that the accusations in both cases are identical and his petition to quash the CBI FIR remains pending before the High Court.
  • Procedural Irregularities: The petition alleges procedural irregularities in the ED's investigation, potentially highlighting issues with evidence collection, witness statements, and adherence to legal frameworks like the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
  • Abuse of Power: Wankhede claims the ED case is a "motivated attack" stemming from his whistleblower complaint against a senior NCB official involved in the alleged bribery attempt in the cruise case. His legal team may invoke sections of the Whistleblower Protection Act, 2011, as defense.

Key Arguments:

  • Double Jeopardy: Wankhede's counsel may argue that facing charges under both the PMLA and CBI FIR for the same alleged offense constitutes double jeopardy, violating his fundamental right to fair trial under Article 20(2) of the Indian Constitution.
  • Malafide Intention: The defense may attempt to establish malafide intention on the ED's part, potentially questioning the agency's adherence to procedural fairness and principles of natural justice.
  • Burden of Proof: The onus lies on the ED to prove the existence of proceeds of crime and Wankhede's knowledge or involvement in money laundering activities, as defined under the PMLA.

  • The High Court may quash the ECIR if it deems the ED's case lacks sufficient merit or if procedural irregularities are identified. Alternatively, it may direct the ED to address legal deficiencies before proceeding further.
  • The outcome could impact the ongoing CBI investigation against Wankhede and set a precedent for similar cases involving alleged misuse of investigative powers.

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