Supreme Court asks Chandraswami to pay Rs 9 crore as penalty

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New Delhi:  Declining relief to self-styled godman Chandraswami, the Supreme Court has asked him to pay around Rs 9 crore as penalty by second week of July imposed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the several cases related to the violation of Foreign Exchanges Regulation Act (FERA) against him.

The order asking Chandraswami and his associate Vikram Kumar to make the payment was passed by a vacation bench of justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar.

The bench turned down Chandraswami's proposal to give him relief in all cases by paying Rs 25 lakh as first tranche in four cases.

The apex court also declined his plea to pay the amount through cheques and directed that the entire penalty should be given through bank drafts only.

During the proceedings, the bench asked his counsel whether Chandraswami would pay the penalty or not.

"You have to deposit the money... tell us whether you would deposit it or not," the bench wanted to know. To this, his counsel said that he would deposit the money but to pay the entire amount in one go "would be extreme hardship" for him.

The ED had imposed a total penalty of approximately Rs 9 crores on Chandraswami in 13 cases of FERA violations for acquiring foreign exchange in contravention of the Act.

The apex court's direction came on an application filed by self-styled godman seeking relief in the FERA cases.

Earlier, the Appellate Tribunal for Foreign Exchange had directed him to pay a penalty amount of Rs 9 crore as a pre-condition to hear his case challenging the imposition of fine by the ED.

This was later challenged by him before the Delhi High Court which dismissed the appeal, following which he had approached the apex court.

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