Karnataka court quashes ED freeze on Greenpeace bank accounts

Bengaluru, Feb 23 : The Karnataka High Court has quashed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) order freezing the bank accounts of Greenpeace India, the Indian arm of the international environmental watchdog said on Saturday.

"We welcome the quashing of the ED order by the Karnataka High Court as it unfreezes our bank accounts, which receive donations from thousands of environmentally conscious Indian citizens," said Greenpeace India in a statement here.

According to the judgement, sourced by IANS from the high court, Justice Alok Aradhe on February 14 quashed the ED order issued in October 2018, freezing the bank accounts, especially in IDBI Bank.

The ED froze the accounts for alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) after a search of the Greenpeace officer here on October 5, 2018

"The court order strengthens our belief in democratic values and constitutional propriety.

It also affirms that our organisation functions in accordance with Indian laws," said Greenpeace India Campaign Director Diya Deb in the statement.

The freezing of bank accounts led to financial crisis for the organisation and forced it to reduce its workforce substantially.

"The impugned notice dated 05.10.2018 has lost its efficacy on account of efflux of time as the period of 60 days has expired," said the judgement, quashing the ED order on a writ petition Greenpeace filed against the agency and others.

The watchdog receives donations from Indian donors who want a safe, secure and a sustainable future for their country and planet Earth, said Deb.

"The quashing of the ED's order emboldens us to carry our campaigns which are crucial for India to mitigate climate change, reduce carbon emissions and create a sustainable future," Deb said, adding the group remains open "to any investigation or inquiry conducted without the intention of harassment".

ED officials did not respond to IANS query on the judgement quashing its order.



Source: IANS