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Kerala HC declined to stay the police investigation against ED

The Kerala High Court refused to put a stay on the investigation, which is due to be conducted, on the FIR filed by Kerala Police crime branch against few officials of Enforcement Directorate.

According to the plea, “the unnamed officials” of ED have been alleged to have coerce the gold smuggling accused, Swapna Suresh, to make untrue statements against the Chief Minister of Kerala and other State ministers.

The bench, however, granted some relief to ED officials and directed the police officials to not take any coercive steps against the former until the next date of hearing. Apart from this, the court also recorded public prosecutor’s undertaking that no official witnesses would be asked to present themselves before the court until the next scheduled hearing of the case.

The counsel on behalf of ED, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, pressed for passing of interim stay on the investigation on the grounds that day by day, ED’s evidence in the gold smuggling case is weakening and the damage would be irreparable and irreversible.

The SG also emphasized that the ongoing investigation bears the ability to affect the NIA and Customs case as well. The SG submitted that the matter arise in the month of August, 2020 and police filed an FIR in March, 2021. If they waited to seven months to file an FIR, ten days halt on investigation would not be prejudice against the complainant.

The bench stated that the after-effect on ED case would be determined once the hearing completes. The bench thus fixed April 8 as the next date of hearing and refused to put a stay on the investigation proceeding.

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