Delhi High Court stays ED summons to Mehbooba Mufti

Published : March 10, 2021 18:12 IST

Mehbooba Mufti, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Photo: TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP

In a major relief to former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the Delhi High Court today stayed the Enforcement Directorate summons sent to her last week. A division bench of Justices Siddarth Mridul and Hairam Bhambhani, who heard Mehbooba Mufti's petition seeking a stay on the ED summons, posted the matter for March 18. The bench also directed the investigation agency not to seek the former Chief Minister’s personal appearance till then.

The ED had asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president to appear before it in New Delhi on March 15. It had issued the summons under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, but its notice failed to specify the exact case for which she was asked to appear. Mehbooba Mufti challenged the validity of the summons in the Delhi High Court.

Senior leaders of the PDP such as Sartaj Madani and Naeem Akhtar are already under detention, so is its youth leader Waheed Para, for the past three months. Mehbooba Mufti was arrested on the intervening night of August 4-5, 2019, hours before Jammu and Kashmir's special status was revoked, and released only in October 2020.

In the past months, both Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, of the National Conference, have alleged that their movement was illegally restricted by security officials. Leaders from both parties have been detained time and again under various cases, giving rise to the perception of political vendetta by New Delhi.