Supreme Court Dismisses Petition in Chhattisgarh Liquor Syndicate Scandal Case

The Supreme Court withdrew a petition filed by Nitesh Purohit, the Promoter of Giriraj Hotel in Raipur, regarding the ongoing investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the Rs 2,000 crore liquor syndicate scandal in Chhattisgarh. The petitioner’s counsel requested permission to withdraw the petition before the Vacation Bench headed by Justice Bela M. Trivedi.

A similar petition by Amit Singh, another accused in the case, was also scheduled for hearing on the same day.

Previously, the Chhattisgarh High Court rejected four petitions challenging the legality of the ED’s investigation, including search and seizure operations and custodial interrogations related to the alleged liquor scam. The petitions sought to declare these actions illegal and requested their reversal, along with any subsequent actions.

During a hearing on Tuesday, the Vacation Bench, consisting of Justice Trivedi and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, criticized the practice of filing Article 32 petitions directly in the Apex Court to challenge summons or seek bail instead of utilizing alternative remedies. This observation was made in response to a set of petitions filed by Chhattisgarh government officials implicated in the liquor scam, who subsequently sought to withdraw their petitions.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the ED, argued that the Supreme Court should take a firm stance against this emerging trend of filing writs challenging the constitutionality of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as a means to obtain anticipatory bail. He considered it a concerning development that needed to be discouraged.

The Solicitor General further stated that individuals were being advised to challenge the provisions of the Act rather than seek anticipatory bail, with the aim of securing a “no coercive action” order. He emphasized the need for the Apex Court to address this issue, as the trend was likely to persist without intervention. He advocated for the Court to make relevant observations on the matter.

Echoing the Solicitor General’s views, Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju emphasized the necessity of curbing the practice of repeatedly approaching the Supreme Court with such pleas, warning of a potential floodgate of litigation.