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Mahua Moitra seeks media gag on FEMA proceedings, Delhi HC to pronounce order on Feb 23

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday reserved its order on Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra plea to restrain Enforcement Directorate from allegedly leaking any 'Confidential, Unverified Information' to the Media related to the ongoing FEMA Probe against her.
The bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad after hearing the all sides, reserved the order and fixed the matter for February 23, 2024 for pronouncement.
Justice Subramonium Prasad at the beginning of the hearing inquired from the counsel for Mahua Moitra as to what is so prejudicial in the press reports.
Senior lawyer Rebecca John appeared for Mahua Moitra stated "I was summoned on 14th and even before I could start, news starts to pour in that ED has summoned me. The material that is being published...a room was booked worth Rs 7 lakhs...look at the atmosphere that's being created against me. Do I not have rights? My application is limited...it's not about the agency's right to investigate...it's about the information being disseminated."
Advocate Siddhant Kumar, appeared for ANI, contended before the High Court that the reporting is concerning a public figure regarding acts committed as a public official. It is the right of the press to report on the conduct of public officials such as Mahua Moitra who is also seeking to contest the next General Election.
During the hearing, ED told the court it has not leaked any information to the media. The ED counsel said the agency was not aware as to how the information about Mahua Moitra being summoned came to the press.
Mahua Moitra had moved Delhi High Court and sought direction to restrain ED and 19 media houses from leaking, broadcasting and disseminating any "confidential or unverified information' in relation to the ED investigation against her regarding proceedings under FEMA.
The plea alleged that ED has willfully and maliciously leaked the details of the FEMA Summons, as well as the response submitted by the Petitioner to the February 14 Summons and sensitive details of allegations being investigated against the Petitioner.
The plea alleged that it appears that ED intends to subject the Petitioner to a media-trial by leaking sensitive particulars, including salacious allegations, allegedly stemming from their ongoing investigation and thereby, not only prejudice the investigation into the matter, but also tarnish the Petitioner's reputation in the public eye.
Instead of undertaking a fair, transparent and ethical investigation into the alleged violations of the FEMA by the Petitioner, it appears that ED is pursuing efforts to vilify the Petitioner in the public eye by deliberately and consistently drip-feeding members of the media with every single detail of the investigation being conducted by ED against the Petitioner, plea read.

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