The Bombay High Court Monday questioned the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) request to stay the demolition order for fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi’s illegal bungalow at Alibaug in the adjoining Raigad district.
A division bench of Chief Justice N H Patil and Justice N M Jamdar was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in 2009 by Shambhuraje Yuvakranti of the Akhil Bhartiya Maratha Seva Sangha on the issue.
The Raigad district collector had last month ordered demolition of 58 unauthorised structures, including one of Modi, built along the beach at Alibaug, a coastal town popular with weekend tourists.
The demolition order was passed following rebuke from the high court for failing to initiate action against the illegal structures.
The ED had last week filed an application before the high court, informing it that the said structure was attached by the agency as part of its money laundering probe against Modi.
The agency in its application informed the court that the tribunal set under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) had permitted it to attach the property long before the Raigad collector ordered its demolition.
According to ED, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sealed the property.
The ED sought a stay on the Raigad Collector’s order of demolition and requested the court to give the agency a hearing.
The bench, however, sought to know why the agency was seeking a stay on the demolition order.
“What is illegal needs to go. What is your problem with those structures that are illegal?” Chief Justice Patil said.
The court then posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks.
According to an affidavit filed by the Raigad district collector on Monday, a day after the demolition order was passed last month, the sub divisional officer of Alibaug wrote a letter to the ED seeking permission to de-seal the property and demolish it.
“We were informed that the ED has sent an e-mail to the CBI on January 2, 2019, requesting CBI to depute an officer for de-sealing the property or provide an NOC to ED for the same. A reply on this is awaited,” the affidavit said.