Calcutta HC refuses to pass any interim order in Maneka Gambhir’s contempt plea

The Calcutta High Court on Friday refused to pass any interim order in the contempt of court petition filed against Enforcement Directorate (ED) by Maneka Gambhir, the sister-in-law of Trinamool Congress’s national General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee.

Gambhir had been interrogated by the ED in connection with the agency’s ongoing enquiry in the multi-crore coal smuggling scam.

In her petition filed before the single-judge bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya, she alleged that the ED, by stopping her from traveling to Bangkok on the night of September 10, had resorted to contempt of court by violating an earlier order of the same bench that stayed the Central agency from taking a strong action against her client till further orders.

However, Justice Bhattacharya refused to accept the argument of Gambhir’s counsel, saying that this bar on letting her board a flight to Bangkok can be “a matter of inconvenience” but under no circumstances, was it “a strong action”.

Thereafter Justice Bhattacharya refused to pass any interim order in the matter and said that any order will only be passed after hearing the central agencies involved in the matter. Legal experts feel that this means that the bar on her overseas visit without the permission of the central agency remains until further orders are passed in the matter.

Gambhir’s counsel, Shaptangshu Basu informed the court that the ailing mother of his client stays in Bangkok and hence, she might have to go there. However, the ED’s counsel, Billwadal Bhattacharya informed the bench that the summons to Gambhir has been sent by the Union Revenue Secretary and he needs more time to present his case in detail before the bench.

The next hearing in the matter is scheduled on September 28.

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