Lobbyist Deepak Talwar Withdraws Plea That Claimed His "Illegal" Arrest

Deepak Talwar's counsel sought to withdraw the habeas corpus petition while referring to a recent judgement of the Supreme Court.

Lobbyist Deepak Talwar Withdraws Plea That Claimed His 'Illegal' Arrest

Deepak Talwar was deported from Dubai on Jan 30 and was arrested by ED in a money laundering case.

New Delhi:

Deepak Talwar, accused in a money laundering case, on Thursday withdrew from the Delhi High Court his plea in which he claimed that his arrest since January 30 was illegal.

Deepak Talwar's counsel sought to withdraw the habeas corpus petition while referring to a recent judgement of the Supreme Court.

The top court had said that a challenge to the order of remand is not to be entertained in a habeas corpus petition -- a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or in court, especially to secure his release, unless lawful grounds are shown for his detention.

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Vinod Goel allowed Deepak Talwar, a corporate lobbyist, to withdraw the petition and disposed of the matter.

Advocate Tanvir Ahmed Mir, appearing for Deepak Talwar, said he would file a bail application in the trial court raising the legal and factual issues.

The court was hearing a habeas corpus plea which claimed that his arrest and custody from January 30 onwards was illegal detention. He has alleged that his fundamental rights were violated by the authorities.

The court had on March 27, refused to entertain Deepak Talwar's prayer challenging the Constitutional validity of various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), including the agency's power to arrest and burden of proof.

Central government's standing counsel Amit Mahajan had informed the court that the challenge to sections 19 (power to arrest) and 24 (burden of proof) of the PMLA is pending consideration before the top court.

The bench had said the Supreme Court was seized of various pleas challenging the same provisions of the PMLA and when the highest court of the land is hearing the matter, the high court cannot interfere with it.

"Judicial propriety demands that this court should refrain from hearing the issue so far as this prayer is concerned as it is pending before the Supreme Court," it had said.

The high court had earlier sought ED's response which said that persons involved in large-scale money laundering and serious financial frauds have made it a practice to challenge various provisions of the PMLA, including the agency's power to arrest.

ED contended that a subterfuge was craftily designed by the "unscrupulous litigants" to bypass the exercise of filing a regular bail plea before the court concerned by directly seeking a habeas corpus writ or bail or anticipatory bail under the garb of challenging the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the PMLA.

It alleged that Deepak Talwar, who was in judicial custody, acted as a middleman in negotiations to favour foreign private airlines, causing loss to national carrier Air India.

The ED had said Deepak Talwar was arrested by its competent officers under the PMLA and he was in custody pursuant to a valid remand order passed by a competent court, the jurisdiction of which was not in question, and that the habeas corpus writ was "not maintainable".

Deepak Talwar has claimed in his plea that when he was in Dubai, a travel ban was imposed on him by a court there in a commercial dispute, due to which he could not return to India despite repeated requests.

His counsel earlier contended before the court that the government of India had "abducted" Deepak Talwar, adding that he was summoned to appear on February 4, but was picked up and not extradited.

He has sought quashing of the FIR against him under the PMLA and also to declare some provisions of the Act as unconstitutional and in violation of fundamental rights.

ED earlier told a trial court that it needed to interrogate Deepak Talwar to get the names of officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, National Aviation Company of India Ltd and Air India, who favoured foreign airlines, including the Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia.

It claimed that entities directly or indirectly controlled by the accused received exorbitant amounts from the Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia and submitted a chart of total USD 60.54 million received by firms directly or indirectly owned by Deepak Talwar between April 23, 2008 and February 6, 2009.

His role in some aviation deals during the previous Congress-led UPA regime is also under the scanner.

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