The Delhi High Court has directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to return with interest the sum of Rs 7.95 lakh “illegally” seized from a travel agency owner nearly 25 years ago for alleged violation of foreign exchange law.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru said the man has been deprived of his funds for a considerable period of time and held that confiscation of the amount was “wholly illegal and unsustainable”. The court directed the ED to return the seized amount along with an interest of six per cent per annum from the date of seizure, which is October 4, 1995, till the date of payment.
On calculating the amount to be paid based on six per cent simple interest per annum, the total sum comes to around Rs 20 lakh. The man, Manak Kala who runs a travel agency, had challenged the February, 2014 order of the Adjudicating Authority of ED which had imposed a penalty of Rs 75 lakh on him and directed confiscation of Rs 7.95 lakh, seized from his office, under Section 63 of Foreign Exchange Regulations Act (FERA).
He had challenged the order before Special Director (Appeals) which reduced the penalty. He again challenged it before the Appellate Tribunal for Foreign Exchange which dismissed his appeal and later he approached the high court.