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The Supreme Court on Monday decided to hear an appeal filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against a Madras High Court ruling allowing a petition by Amma Makkal Munetra Kazhagam (AMMK) leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran seeking copies of official documents relating to the 1996 FERA case against him.

The Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, however, stayed the trial against Mr. Dhinakaran until the ED appeal for the time being.

When the ED protested the stay, Chief Justice Gogoi retorted saying, "how can you have the cake and eat it too?"

"If we allow the trial to proceed without the documents, we will be virtually deciding the course of the trial... We have actually decided in your favour by agreeing to hear your appeal by issuing a notice. And if there is notice, there should be stay of trial. Otherwise, the trial would be over by the time we decide your appeal," Chief Justice Gogoi reasoned with the ED counsel.

The High Court last year had directed the trial court to order the ED to provide copies of the documents to Mr. Dhinakaran.

He had filed the petition challenging the order of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Economic Offences-II) in Chennai, declining access to copies of certain documents, including the case diary.

The ED had submitted that the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA), 1973, prohibited the disclosure of any document, information, or intelligence of the department kept highly confidential.

Mr. Dhinakaran is accused of acquiring $1,04,93,313 in foreign exchange without obtaining permission from the Reserve Bank of India and deposited it in the current account of Dipper Investments Ltd., a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, and having account with Barclays Bank in UK.

English Summary

FERA case against T.T.V. Dhinakaran: SC to hear ED plea

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