The Supreme Court has asked Haryana Congress MLA Dharam Singh Chhoker to appear before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the money laundering case registered against him.

A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, however, orally granted protection to Chhoker, who is an MLA from Samalkha assembly constituency of Panipat district in Haryana, by asking the probe agency to move an application before the court, if he needs to be arrested.

“We are not recording it in order but we are asking you to move an application before he is arrested,” the bench told Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

During the hearing on Wednesday, the bench asked Raju whether the agency intends to arrest him.

Raju replied Chhoker is absconding and not cooperating in the investigation and his arrest depends on the material before the ED.

He said initially summons were issued to him and when he did not appear before the probe agency, an arrest warrant was issued but he still chose to not appear.

“When he did not appear after issuance of non-bailable arrest warrant, the trial court initiated proceedings under section 82 of CrPC to declare him proclaimed offender,” Raju said.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Chhoker, said it is election time and some relief be granted to him.

He undertook that Chhoker will

cooperate with the investigation.

The bench said in its order, “The petitioner–Dharam Singh Chhoker will appear before the officers of the Directorate of Enforcement at their office in New Delhi, on April 12, 2024 at 11am. He will also appear on all subsequent dates whenever required by way of notice.”

While observing that since 2021, the ED has not arrested Chhoker in the case, the bench asked the agency not to arrest him without giving prior intimation to the court.

It listed the matter for further hearing on May 6.

Chhoker in his plea before the top court has challenged the February 26 order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court by which it has refused to quash the money laundering case against him.

In his appeal, Chhoker told the apex court that the predicate offence, which was the basis for the money laundering case, was quashed by the high court and hence, the case of ED does not survive.

The petition claimed that once the predicate offence did not hold the field, there was no question of proceeds of crime.

On July 25 last year, the ED raided multiple premises linked to Chhoker and his family as part of a money laundering probe against them linked to an alleged real estate fraud. Raids were conducted at their premises in Panipat, Gurugram and Hisar.

The case against Chhoker was registered by the ED in 2021.

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