Will not take coercive action on FIR against ED sleuths,Kerala govt tells HC

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Kochi, Mar 24 (PTI) The Kerala government on Wednesday informed the High Court that it will not take coercive action on the basis of the FIR registered against Enforcement Directorate officials by the state police for allegedly forcing Swapna Suresh, key accused in the gold smuggling case, to give statements against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The state government gave the assurance to the court when it took up the plea filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking quashing of the FIR.

Appearing for the ED, Additional Solicitor General partly argued the case.

When the ED counsel sought intervention of the court to prevent coercive action against the ED officers, the state informed the court that there was no need for the apprehension of coercive action on the basis of FIR.

Considering the state government's plea seeking adjournment, Justice V G Arun posted the case for next Tuesday for further arguments.

In its plea, the ED has alleged the FIR was registered against its unnamed officials with 'ulterior motive of derailing the statutory investigation' under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) into a large economic offence of smuggling of huge quantities of gold.

In its prayer, the ED submitted that the FIR filed be quashed or the investigation be transferred from the state police to the CBI to ensure an impartial investigation.

The central agency also wanted the court to stay all further proceedings pursuant to the FIR against ED officials and direct no coercive action against the officers of the Enforcement Directorate 'who are performing their official duties' under the PMLA 2002 pending disposal of the petition.

The impugned FIR has been registered with an oblique motive to put pressure on the Investigating Officers,besides also 'ensure that trial is not conducted in a fair and impartial manner because certain highly placed persons are involved in this case,' the ED submitted.

The Crime Branch registered the case on March17 on the basis of a report filed by the Crime Branch team which was probing the leak of a voice clip, purportedly belonging to Suresh. PTI COR TGB BN BN