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Delhi HC dismisses TMC's Mahua Moitra plea seeking media gag on FEMA proceedings

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra's plea to restrain the Enforcement Directorate from allegedly leaking any confidential, unverified information to media related to the ongoing FEMA probe against her.

The bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad dismissed the petition. Justice Subramonium Prasad on Thursday heard the matter and inquired from the counsel for Mahua Moitra as to what is so prejudicial in the press reports.

Advocate Siddhant Kumar, who appeared for ANI, contended before the High Court that the reporting 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 had not leaked any information to the media. How the information about her being summoned came to the press, we are not aware, said the ED counsel.

Mahua Moitra had moved Delhi High Court sought direction to restrain ED and 19 media houses from leaking, broadcasting and disseminating any "confidential or unverified information" in relation to ED's investigation against her regarding proceedings under FEMA.

The plea alleged that ED has wilfully and maliciously leaked the details of the FEMA summons, as well as the response submitted by the Petitioner to the 14 February Summons and sensitive details of allegations being investigated against the Petitioner. 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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