The appellant, Abhay Nigam purchased plots over numerous registered sale deeds and registered agreements to sell. The appellants invested their life savings for the purchase of plots after seeking the consent of different statutory bodies such as Town & Country Planning, Indore Municipal Corporation, RERA, etc. The respondent issued the impugned provisional attachment order whereby plots purchased by appellants were attached. Nevertheless, no such action was taken against 98 similarly situated plot holders which amount to aggressive discrimination with appellants. As a consequence of attachment of their property, the appellants are deprived of enjoying their property which hits Article 300 A of the constitution.
Mr. R.S. Chhabra, counsel appearing for appellants urged that the plots in question were not purchased by using proceeds of crime and, hence, the provisions of The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 are not applicable, wherein Section 8 can be made applicable only against the person against whom a complaint has been made or an application has been favored or Section 18(10) of the said Act wherein no such complaint or application was preferred by anybody. As per the backdrop, an alternative remedy was not an absolute bar for the appellants.
Mr. Phadke, Asstt. Solicitor General appearing for the respondents supported the impugned order submitted that learned Single Judge has rightly held that appellant has an inhouse preparation under the PML Act. The challenged order of attachment of property is only a “provisional order”. The appellants can yield all possible grounds before the adjudicating authority who will look into the matter and will decide the same as per the law.
If the Scheme ingrained in Sec.24 and 26 of the Act of 1988 is compared with the PML Act, it will be clear that the Scheme is almost pari materia. For this reason, also, it was deemed proper to hold that "adjudicating authority" is best suited and statutorily obliged to consider the validity of provisional attachment order and the case put forth by the present appellants.
The division bench headed held that the order of provisional attachment is not final and the appellants have a remedy to raise all the pleas as well as that of the jurisdiction of attaching authority and judgment before the adjudicating authority. Accordingly, the Court said that in the event these points are raised by the appellants before the adjudicating authority, the adjudicating authority shall consider these grounds and shall pass appropriate order per law expeditiously preferably within 30 days from the date such plea is taken by the appellants.